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Keeping our children safe from THC

Good news: health agencies have made great strides in teaching adults not to smoke around children. Bad news: according to a Columbia University study an increase in parents smoking cannabis around their children could undo decades of effort to protect our kids against second hand smoke, according to “Pediatrics” magazine May 2018.What will be the long term effects on our children?

Smoking

Scientists and physicians are concerned about many kinds of second hand smoke and their chemicals around children. Dr. Claire McCarthy of Harvard Medical school points to study after study reporting that “if you are near someone who is smoking marijuana THC, the smoke gets into your system, too.” How much of it gets in depends on how close the person is, how many people are smoking and how much, how long you spend near them, and how much ventilation there is in the space. But research is clear that cannabinoids, the chemicals that cause the “high,” get into the bodies of people nearby – including children.”

Nicotine cigarette smoking around children has decreased more than 7%. Marijuana smoking around children has increased nearly 5%.

Brain Function

Dr. McCarthy and others continue, “Besides the fact that we don’t want children getting high, or exposed to the dangers of inhaled secondhand marijuana smoke, there is the additional concern about long-term effects on the brain. There is evidence to suggest that when youth and young adults (whose brains are still developing) are exposed to marijuana THC, it may have permanent effects on executive function, memory, and even IQ, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Psychiatric Association.”

Executive functions of brain include: evaluating ideas, remembering detail, paying attention and switching focus, keeping track of multiple tasks at once, finishing work on time, and linking past experience to the present, doing things based on experience.

What can families do about all kinds of smoking according to Dr. McCarthy?

The best thing for you and your child is to not smoke at all. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit.

If you do smoke, don’t smoke around your child, ever.

Even if your children aren’t around, don’t smoke somewhere they will be, like your home or your car. Smoke lingers.

After you smoke, change your clothes, and wash up. Again: smoke lingers. If it smells like any kind of smoke in the area, your baby is smoking.

Check that all care givers do not smoke around children nor smell like smoke. Check their home if your children are in their home, car, and anywhere else they care for your children—and then there are edibles. For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com; wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons live and pod casts; Facebook, and Pinterest.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.

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