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General health

Sensitive Subject - Children / babies and smoke

13 replies

Tillysmummy · 14/01/2003 18:57

I wanted to see what you all thought. I am not really sure how to handle this situation. My mum looks after dd 3 days a week. It is invaluable and I appreciate it greatly. Although I do pay her because she gave up work part time to do this, I do recognise all she does for me and dd and we are very close. Because we are so close our relationship is very volatile and we can tend to have arguments over dd's care if I raise something and she thinks I am being picky but I feel that if I was paying a nanny to do it I would have the right to tell her certain things. Don't get me wrong, this very rarely happens and we are in total agreement about all things really and she always does what I ask. The problem i have is that my mum smokes. She never smokes in my house when looking after dd, always outside. Lately dd has been spending quite a few days at her house though, often because I am working from home and it's difficult if I am here because dd always wants me and sometimes just because it is more convenient for mum. Mum and my stepdad smoke in their house but never when Tilly is there (well not quite true, they have a room upstairs they shut the door on which is the smoking room) and the house is always thoroughly aired before she gets there. My dh and I both have commented that it doesn't ever seem smokey but obviously because they are smokers there is a certain smell that lingers although it isn't very obvious.

I had been thinking recently that she is spending more and more time at my mum's the 3 days she has her, probably at least 2 are at hers. Sometimes Tilly comes back and I can smell stale smoke in her hair ( I do have a very sensitive nose having been a smoker and given up !) which I really hate. I wonder that even though they air the house thoroughly there must be residue and is this harmful. If it werent I would put up with the occasional smell but don't want to put her health at danger at all. I have always been very adamant about the smoking thing and never taking her into a smokey environment, avoiding restaurants etc etc when she was younger. She is now 16 months and if I am in a restaurant and there is no no smoking section and someone is smoking I put up with it (rather than leave which I would have done a while ago) but leave as quickly as possible.

I grew up as a child in a house full of smokers. Obviously parents then didn't know the harms of passive smoking. I guess what I am concerned about is whether it's only fresh smoke that's harmful and if there are few smoke particles in the air at mum's will they hurt.

I dont' want to raise this really because I know she will get sensitive about it and then I'll get angry because she has no right to and we'll end up having a huge row. However if I think that Tilly's health is at risk I must raise it.

Does anyone have any useful information. Am I being miss paranoid pants. I guess that she breathes in all the car fumes when we're out...

OP posts:
Tinker · 14/01/2003 19:11

I would mention it but I think your mum would have a right to be sensitive about it. I think the short answer is that she is doing you a huge favour, saving you a huge amount of money and if she says she smokes upstairs, believe her. Only you can decide if you don't. Your child is her grandhcild after all, so she does have her best interests at heart as well - I presume. If it causes you real heartache then you must consider other options rather than taking things out on your mum.

I don't know the comparative risks of fresh smoke to stale smoke, as it were, but I imagine smoking in you daughter's presence is the harmful bit.

sobernow · 14/01/2003 19:17

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Message withdrawn at poster's request.

aloha · 14/01/2003 19:22

I would think any risk to her health is extremely remote and theoretical. I think your mother sounds as if she takes care to protect your daughter as much as she can without giving up smoking (obviously the idea solution!). If you want her to continue looking after your daughter on your terms then I think you will have to put up with this. After all, what else can she do apart from giving up? It was your decision not to have her looked after in your home recently. I'm not criticising - I hate smoking and detest the smell of smoke and would be concerned if your mother was smoking around your daughter and in front of her, but if not, I don't think there is much you can do?

susanmt · 14/01/2003 20:10

Hi, was just talking to dh about this (doc!). He was saying, if you came to him as a patient and were worried about it he would tell you not to worry - if your parents are smoking in an upstairs roon and keep the door closed then there is really no risk to Tilly's health. (Now his little Health Education bit .....) The risk is, if she is aware of smoking in her environment, she is more likely to become a smoker herself in the future (statistically), than a child who doesn't see people smoking. And if your parents want to give up (he told me to say this) then Nicorette is available on prescrpition and if they are over 60 it will be free for them.
Typical docs, they always get that sort of bit in!

forest · 15/01/2003 01:20

I have to disagree with you a bit Susanmt as my dad was a very heavy smoker and both me and my brother hate cigarette smoking. We knew he hated being addicted and he told us how c**p it was being so addicted. We both respect him and his opinions very much.
I don't think there is much damage from coming into a well ventilated room after someone has had a fag and I think we can become too sensitive to it. I believe that pollution from cars would cause a lot more damage if you are pushing them round in a push chair (right at exhaust fume level).
Tillysmum - your mum and stepdad sound to me as if they have your dd's best interest at heart and are not doing anything to harm her.

Tillysmummy · 15/01/2003 09:10

Thanks all for putting it into perspective for me. I think you are all right I won't say anything. It's just she always used to look after her at ours and is more and more often taking her to hers now which is necessary the one day I work from home but not the other days. In retrospect I guess that it's only 3 days out of 7.

Susanmt that is very interesting. I was going to ask my doctor but now you've saved me the trouble. I thought passive smoking was harmful but I guess it's not really passive smoking if the house is aired and they are smoking upstairs.

I am very relieved not to have to bring it up. Cant face arguing about it.

OP posts:
susanmt · 15/01/2003 10:50

forest, it is only a statistical difference, in general the children of smokers are more likely to be smokers themselves, when you look at the whole population and it is apparantly good research, adjusted for social class/occupation etc). Glad to hear your Dad put you off. My Dad has the occasional cigar but I can always smell it when we go there!

Giovanna1 · 15/01/2003 14:50

Tillysmummy, I completely understand your concern. DP's mother is wonderful to us, and to DD, and will watch her whenever we need. DD occasionally sleeps there as well. Her partner is a big smoker, and every time DD comes home, everything smells - even things that were in her bag the whole time! I have to immediately wash everything.

I know I don't have her over there as often as I would if it were a smoke free environment. But I, too, don't feel I have the right to ask them to change their home habits (he wouldn't anyway!).

Lindy · 15/01/2003 19:03

Tillysmummy - I would just add that my DH & his sister grew up with parents who smoked very, very heavily (MIL even when pregnant & b/feeding - it was not considered 'harmful' then & - joke - she was a midwife !!!!!!) and now they are in their 40s and both in perfect health (& non-smokers) ............ both parents have since died from cancer, but that's a separate issue!

Rhubarb · 15/01/2003 21:51

This is interesting as I have posted on another thread about this. Dh smokes (well he is trying to give up AGAIN) part-time and at his worst, he would smoke in the house whilst dd was in bed, but he didn't have much consideration as to whether the house was aired or not afterwards. Also he thought that if he smoked discreetly in front of her in a public place, she wouldn't notice - yeah right! It was this that worried me the most. dd really looks up to her dad and she is a very curious child. I was (and still am) worried that if she saw him smoking she would be encouraged to try it when she was older. Dh loves smoking which is why he finds it really hard to give up, and I'm very worried that his attitude could rub off on her.

I have every sympathy with you Tillysmummy, but I shouldn't worry in your daughter's case. Just make it clear that they are never to smoke in front of her, and perhaps get some of that Febreze for them as a hint! Health-wise you can't get anything from stale smoke smells, apart from nausea!

Corbin · 16/01/2003 22:16

My DH and my dad both smoke. I try my best not to have dd in sight of them when they do it, I'd rather she not think it okay.

I absolutely will not have her in a house where people smoke, whether they do it while she is there or not, shut a door or air the place out. No one is allowed to smoke in our house, not even DH. He smokes on the front porch just like guests. They stand under the covered porch in any weather, rain, snow, any. My personal opinion is that if they are so determined to do something so disgusting and dangerous they can very well suffer a little inclement weather if they must do it at my house. Besides, that smoke stink is nearly impossible to get out of fabric. If we visit someone's house that is smoky or they are smoking, I may suggest that we play outdoors or take a "field trip" together. Next time we got together it would probably be at my house, where they would be welcome to smoke on the porch!

Tillysmummy, my opinion differs from most of the others given. I value my daughter's health above all else, and if my dad were to get upset when I asked him not to smoke around my dd I'd feel sorry I'd hurt my dad but not sorry I'd protected her lungs and her potential habits. As a parent himself I would expect him to understand my desire to protect my child in any way I see fit.

AliH · 18/01/2003 15:15

Tillsymummy - I completely know where you are coming from.

My mum is a VERY heavy smoker. When I was pregnant, she stopped smoking when I was in the house, and has continued not to smoke when we are there. This I do appreciate very much. However, she makes sure that I know that she really wants to start smoking around us again.

Also, when we visit, even if I open a window, the whole house smells of smoke. We now wear only old clothes to go there, and have to bathe and wash dds hair as soon as we get home. I hate it. She doesn't realise what a disgusting smell it is, and how it clings to everything. Even books, videos etc that we bring home from there smell awful.

Rant over, I guess there is nothing that can be done, since she has no intention of giving up, but I agree with you, concern for health is very important.

Batters · 19/01/2003 10:49

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