Your Baby and You: The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

Critical Keys to Keeping Your Baby Safe: Secondhand Smoke

Car Seat Safety
How to Reduce the Risk of SIDS
 Loud Noises and Infant Hearing
 Other Baby Safety Hazards

There's no doubt that tobacco use wreaks debilitating havoc on adults, but many parents are unaware of the harm secondhand smoke can inflict on their babies. Because secondhand smoke presents a significant danger to all children, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents to quit smoking - or at least refrain from doing so in the company of children. Here's why:

  • Children of parents who smoke have more respiratory infections, bronchitis, pneumonia and reduced pulmonary function than children of nonsmokers.

  • More than 60 percent of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) cases could be prevented if people stopped smoking around their babies or pregnant women, according to a report in the British Medical Journal.

  • Children exposed to secondhand smoke regularly have low levels of vitamin C in their blood, regardless of how much fruit and vegetables they eat or the vitamins they take, claims a report in a recent issue of Pediatrics, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Secondhand smoke is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children under 18 months of age annually, resulting in between 7,500 and 15,000 hospitalizations each year, estimates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

  • Between 200,000 and 1,000,000 children with asthma have their condition made worse by exposure to secondhand smoke, reports the EPA.

  • If you or someone you know wants to stop smoking, consider contacting one of these organizations:

  • American Cancer Society Quit Line: 800-227-2345,

  • American Legacy Foundation's Great Start Program: 866-667-8278, This program is designed specifically for pregnant women.

  • American Lung Association: 800-LUNG-USA,