Third-Hand Smoke and Your Baby

Suzanne Murray

burning cigarette

Third-hand smoke

can harm your little one

Okay, so you've heard of first-hand smoke and second-hand smoke—both of which are bad for your infant. Now there's third-hand smoke. This is the smoke that lingers in cars, on furniture, in carpets, and on smokers themselves long after a cigarette has been put out. Pediatricians say that this smoke leaves behind toxic chemicals that your baby can ingest. And if you breastfeed, the toxins will transfer to your baby through your breast milk.

Babies pick up the residue from dust when crawling, and then they can ingest it when they suck on their hands, said Joan Friebely of MassGeneral Hospital for Children. Infants are more susceptible because they are smaller and have faster breathing rates, which means they're exposed to higher concentrations than older children.

If you or someone in your home smokes, here are some things you can do to protect your baby:

1. Smoke away from your children at all times

2. Wear a smoking jacket outside

3. Wash your hands after every cigarette

4. Try, try, try to quit smoking (According to Cafe Kristen, you'll live 14 and a half years longer than someone who continues to smoke.)

Are you a smoker? How do you keep the smoke away from your baby?

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