Common childhood illnesses & well-being
A parent's guide for children aged 5-11


Secondhand smoke is dangerous for everyone

Secondhand smoke is made up of two types of smoke: mainstream (breathed in and out by smokers) and sidestream (smoke from the burning tip of a cigarette). Secondhand smoke is dangerous for children as they are growing up because:

  • Smoking near children is a cause of serious respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

  • Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of children developing asthma and can cause asthma attacks.

  • Younger children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are much more likely to contract a serious respiratory infection.

  • There is an increased risk of meningitis for children who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

  • Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to get coughs and colds, as well as middle ear disease, which can cause deafness.

'Third-hand smoke' that lingers on things such as clothes, furnishings and carpet can be as dangerous to babies and children as secondhand smoke.


Protecting your child

Keep them away from all cigarettes and smoky places (a room where even one person is smoking). Smoking in the house, even with the door or a window open will not stop smoke drifting into other rooms and lingering for a long time.

  • Keep living, sleeping and eating areas smokefree.

  • Make your car a smokefree zone.

  • Ask other people not to smoke around your child.

  • Avoid smoking anywhere around your children. If you smoke go outside and take 7 steps away from the door.