Babies Shouldn’t Smoke!
By Leslie Pilder
Sounds funny, doesn’t it? We’d never give a cigarette to a baby! But infants and toddlers who live with smokers suffer from many problems that are just as bad as if they were smoking themselves. Children’s bodies are smaller and developing, which makes cigarette smoke more dangerous to them than to an adult. And infants and toddlers breathe faster than adults. That means they are taking in more smoke per minute than the person smoking the cigarette!
It is very important that if you cannot stop smoking, that you do not smoke in a room or a car with a child. Children who spend time in smoky spaces miss more days of school than other children. They have more asthma and more ear-infections and are more likely to die from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) than other children. They have more pneumonia and more bronchitis. There is even evidence that some behavior problems may be due to second-hand smoke and that children exposed to smoke may have some learning difficulties too. Children from smoking homes scored lower in math, reading, logic and reasoning tests, according to some research. [http://www.helpwithsmoking.com/passive-smoking/passive-smoking-and-children.php]
Even if you have banned smoking from your household, the consequences of smoking can impact your children’s health. How often does your little one stand near someone smoking on the street? How often have you spent time in a room or a car that smelled of smoke? Or handed your child to a person whose clothing clearly indicated that they had been smoking? Scientists are referring to this as “third hand smoke” and they are finding that it poses many health problems for young children. Third hand smoke exposes all of us to toxins (poisons!) that can cause long-term health problems. A baby crawling around a room that smells of smoke is picking up chemicals through her skin and when she puts her fingers in her mouths. A child who rests his head on the coat of a smoker may be coming in contact with deadly toxins.[http://quitsmoking.about.com/od/secondhandsmoke/a/thirdhandsmoke.htm]
This third-hand smoke is a reason for supporting smoke-free zones in public spaces.
Smoke is also dangerous for unborn children. Pregnant women should never smoke as their babies have lower birth weights, which puts them at risk for many medical conditions. Their babies may be born with abnormal lungs and may have life-long problems with learning. [http://pediatrics.about.com/cs/pediatricadvice/a/second_hand_smk.htm] But even if mommy isn’t smoking, breathing in the smoke of others can hurt the growing fetus. These babies have more learning disabilities than other children and are at greater risk for having cerebral palsy, a very serious condition that robs children of their ability to walk, talk, and learn normally. [http://quitsmoking.about.com/od/secondhandsmoke/a/smokeandkids.htm]
It’s spring time! Open the windows, wash the carpets, launder the curtains, and get the smoky smell out of your house. Keep your children away from smoky environments. And if you smoke, for the sake of your babies, stop! Visit this website for some free resources to help you quit: http://quitsmoking.about.com/c/ec/6.htm .
Love your children enough to stop!