About 1 out of every 3 children lives in a home where someone smokes regularly. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of lots of problems like sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ear infections, colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, severe asthma, headaches, sore throats, dizziness, nausea, lack of energy, and fussiness. And the younger the child, the greater the risk is.
Secondhand smoke is made up of two things:
• The smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar
• The smoke exhaled by the smoker
Secondhand smoke is also called passive or involuntary smoking. It contains over 250 harmful chemicals; about 50 of these can cause cancer.
What you can do to protect your child from secondhand smoke:
• If you or someone in your house smokes, stop! Talk to your employer or health care provider; they can refer you to a low-cost program that will help you quit.
• Visit the Web site smokefree.gov for tips and tools to help you quit.
• If you smoke and plan to breastfeed your baby, stop smoking. Breastmilk from women who smoke contains chemicals that are dangerous to babies.
• Don’t let anyone smoke in your home or your car, especially when children are present.
• Remove ashtrays from your house. They can encourage people to light up.
• Store matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
• When choosing a baby-sitter or child care worker, be sure he or she does not smoke around your child.
• When you’re in public with your baby, ask others not to smoke around you and your child.
• Don’t go to restaurants that allow smoking.
For more information, read “How can secondhand smoke harm my child?” from the American Academy of Pediatrics.