Smoking In Front Of The Kids

There’s a lot of talk about smoking with children in the news at the moment with a proposed law to stop parents smoking in cars suggested.  I’m a non smoker, but when J was born my husband smoked. Now he wasn’t a big smoker: 5 a day, a few more if he was at the pub.  He always smoked outside, even before J was born, so the house was smoke free.  If we were out together and he wanted one, he would walk away for a few minutes and get out of sight, so that J never saw him smoke.  I think this was the right thing to do and I think it’s what all smoking parents should do the same if at all possible.
It got me thinking though about how easy (or maybe that should be how difficult) it is for smoking parents to separate their habit from their children.  If you are the sole carer or looking after your child alone for hours at a time, how do you smoke and separate it from your children?  I guess with babies you can put them somewhere safe like a cot or a playpen and then go outside to smoke.  It’s not quite so easy as they become more mobile and you need to keep a close watch on them.  It must become a balancing act between the actual, but accumulative, threat of smoke inhalation and the potentially more dangerous accident that might not happen.  
Cars are enclosed spaces and the smoke does have a tendency to linger.  I’d have thought that smoking in the car was a situation where you could easily avoid smoking into the air your child was breathing.  After all it’s easy to pull over or park up somewhere; you can get out of the car leaving your child securely strapped in; and smoke where they can see you, but where they aren’t affected by the fumes.  Seems like a bit of a no brainer to me.  The only thing you lose is a little time.  I think the sad thing is that obviously enough people are choosing to smoke with their children in the car rather than stop to get out and smoke, for someone to think that we need a law for this. 

Drinking And Bed Wetting

It’s very important for a child’s general good health that they drink plenty of fluids during the day.  Some children, especially when they are embarrassed about bedwetting, try to reduce their fluid intake during the day because they think it will help them stay dry at night.  It isn’t a good idea.

Potentially, if they drink less during the day, it will end up meaning that their bladder can hold less urine because if is used to holding less.  This is likely to make bed wetting worse if anything.  It can also cause day time problems:

  • Dehydration symptoms like headaches
  • Needing to go to the toilet very frequently during the day
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • Overactive bladder

It’s good practice to make sure for all children that their bladder is allowed to fill during the day and that when they go to the toilet, they fully empty their bladder.  If you think bladder capacity might be an issue you can get your doctor to arrange a bladder capacity check.  You can also think about ways to increase your child’s fluid intake.  For instance, my son doesn’t seem to drink much at school, so I am thinking of paying extra for him to have a fruit juice at break time to encourage more fluid intake.

That said, water based drinks are generally better than other drinks.  Drinking certain drinks especially close to bed time can have a diuretic effect.  Drinks that can have this effect include:

  • tea, coffee and drinking chocolate
  • blackcurrant squash (and other dark squashes)
  • fizzy drinks

Six to eight glasses is a good daily fluid intake to aim for and these drinks should be spread throughout the day.  Obviously if a child is exercising a lot they will need more fluid and individuals do vary in their fluid intake needs.