ZocdocAnswersDoes presence of smokers contribute to Suddent Infant Death Syndrome?

Question

Does presence of smokers contribute to Suddent Infant Death Syndrome?

Hello, my mother has been smoking for 45 years now. My niece was born a couple days ago and I heard that my niece being around or held by heavy smokers (even if they are not smoking at the time) could be a contributing factor to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. How true is this? What is your guidance on this? Is it enough if my mother refrains from smoking prior to seeing the child or you think it is not necessary? thank you

Answer

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a very sad situation in which a child passes away in sleep without any obvious or well explained cause. It has been linked to a number of different factors, and cigarette smoking appears to be one of these. I recommend discussing this issue with your doctor. The CDC website about the harmful effects of tobacco smoke links several other facts as well, including the changes that can happen in the brain and the lungs of infants who are exposed to cigarette smoke. While smoking in the presence of the child is obviously worse than having smoked in the past, it is important to try and reduce the amount of tobacco exposure as much as possible through whatever means are possible. One of the things that doctors often recommend (after smoking cessation, of course) is to insist that smokers smoke outside. In addition to smoking outside, it is advised that they wear a coat or jacket that can be removed after smoking, so that at least a large portion of the smell and chemicals remain on the jacket. There are many other ideas as well, but trying to limit tobacco exposure as much as possible will help your niece to be healthy. Please speak with your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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