How harmful is third-hand smoke?
Q: My mother-in-law smokes (but denies that she does). When our son was born seven months ago and came home from the hospital, we politely explained that even third-hand smoke can be harmful to babies. We asked that she not be around our son after she's been smoking (she lives a mile away). Unfortunately, she's come to our house numerous times smelling like smoke--sometimes so strongly that our son smells of it when she leaves. Could this be harming him or should we just give up what seems to be a losing battle?
A: It can be a real challenge to tell a grandparent that there are things that are very important to you for your child's health. Since she lives nearby, bring her along to your son's next well child check-up and ask his pediatrician to explain the dangers of smoking (or even smoke on clothing) around a baby, such s increased risk of wheezing and respiratory problems. Let the doctor be the bad guy--we are always there to advocate for kids!
Answered by Dr. Ari Brown