Parents urged to stub out smoking in the car
NEW mums are helping to encourage parents to stub out smoking behind the wheel.
Women who have just given birth to their babies at the Women and Children's Hospital in Hull have joined the campaign Smoke-free Cars.
Parents of every newborn baby in Hull and the East Riding will receive hard-hitting facts and information on the dangers of exposing babies and young children to tobacco smoke.
Mary-Joy Ramil, who gave birth to her daughter Heaven-Ace on Monday, said: "My husband and I don't smoke but I wanted to support this campaign because I feel it is important to protect babies from harm caused by smoking in the car."
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Babies and children are vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke because they are smaller, have developing lungs and immune systems and they breathe more rapidly, inhaling more chemicals and gases from the smoke.
Exposure to cigarette smoke can increase the risk of asthma, pneumonia, ear infections and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
The Smoke-free Cars pack also contains contact details for the free NHS Hull and East Riding Stop Smoking Service to give parents support if they wish to quit smoking.
Nicola Wood, of NHS East Riding of Yorkshire, said: "Children have the right to be protected from exposure to secondhand smoke.
"Parents must recognise that secondhand smoke causes ill- health in babies and children and that they have a responsibility to protect the health of their children and keep them from harm.
"This is a great opportunity to reach every parent with a newborn baby in Hull and the East Riding and deliver a clear message to protect their children from tobacco smoke."
The campaign highlights the dangers faced by babies and children if their parents smoke in the car, even with a window open.
In-car concentrations of smoke can be up to 27 times greater than in a smoker's home and smoke is blown into the back of the car, where children sit, if the window is open.
More than 17,000 children under five years old are admitted to hospital every year in the UK and 300,000 children visit their GP every year in the UK due to the effects of secondhand tobacco smoke.
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals midwife Fiona Robinson said she talks to pregnant women about the dangers of smoking in cars.
She said: "Many people don't realise how concentrated smoke can be in the car – even with the windows open.
"We worked together with Public Health to develop some eye-catching products that can be used in the car to reinforce the safety message, and the packs seem to have gone down well so far with families at the hospital."