Mum makes baby smoke pot, causing outrage
In a video the mum posted online, the little one is seen with a brown cigarette in his mouth...
Stories of child abuse make even the most non-judgmental of us think some adults should never be parents. This story will definitely make you think along these lines. In North Carolina, USA, a 20-year-old woman was arrested after two videos of her and her baby smoking pot went viral on social media. These videos prompted outrage among social media users, which eventually led to the mother’s arrest.
On Wednesday, March 21, the Raleigh Police Department said in a statement that they arrested Brianna Ashanti Lofton after members of the public posted information about a video of a mum and baby smoking pot.
Mum and baby smoking pot
News & Observer, a news agency from Raleigh, said the videos showed an adult’s hand holding “a brown cigar or cigarette” to the child’s mouth. Both videos show the child exhaling smoke.
The authorities accused Lofton of “causing, encouraging and aiding a one-year-old child to smoke a marijuana blunt on Dec 1, 2017,” according to Raleigh police warrants.
The Raleigh Police Department said Lofton’s charge was child abuse, contributing to delinquency and possession of marijuana.
According to the authorities, Raleigh residents began posting the videos, with comments, on the police department’s Facebook page from 9:30am (9:30pm Singapore time).
Raleigh Police Department Lieutenant Jason Hodge released a statement after the arrest. He was quoted as saying the authorities “appreciate the public’s help in this matter.” He also said they “welcome and encourage any assistance the public is willing to give.”
The baby is currently in Wake County Child Protective Services
The effects of smoking on babies
Here’s what happens to your child’s body when you smoke cigarettes in their presence:
1. Respiratory problems
Exposure to smoke raises the child’s risk of developing asthma and other related respiratory illnesses. These illnesses include bronchitis, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis. In addition, kids may also experience breathing difficulties (wheezing), constant shortness of breath, excessive coughing, and a high likelihood of developing chest infections and related complications.
2. Colds and coughs
Kids develop sensitive nasal cavities when exposed to second-hand smoke. As a result, this makes them prone to colds and coughs.
3. Middle ear infections
Children of smokers are more likely to suffer severe middle ear infections (“glue ear”). In severe cases of this condition, children may lose their hearing. Infected ears require surgical draining to relieve the condition, which is a very painful procedure.
4. Increased risk of cancer
Unsurprisingly, cigarette smoke contains high amounts of carcinogens. It’s only logical that exposing children to smoking raises the kids’ risk of cancer.
Effects on baby smoking pot
Of course, marijuana is not tobacco. Despite the growing awareness of marijuana as a treatment to a number of medical conditions, parents must still exercise caution. Children experience a different set of negative effects from marijuana smoke.
- Extreme sleepiness or lethargy
- Bloodshot eyes
- Increased appetite
- Dry mouth
- Impaired motor control
- Lung irritation
- Asthma attacks
These symptoms can last up to 24 hours after exposure. There have been no reported childhood deaths from marijuana poisoning.
In spite of this, we still advise you to contact your local poison center or hospital if you think your child has eaten or inhaled marijuana.
Long-term effects on baby smoking pot
Some long-terms affects are:
- Poorer verbal, memory, and reasoning ability
- Poorer motor skills
- Shorter length of play
- Increased likelihood of being fearful, impulsive, inattentive, hyperactive, and delinquent
These effects appear to persist well into adolescence in more severe cases, even accompanied by increased depression and anxiety. As students, children may experience reading and spelling problems that will greatly affect them academically.
There is also preliminary research that suggests fathers’ marijuana use a year before the child’s birth is associated with an increased risk of rhabdomyosarcoma in their children. Also, a father’s marijuana use during conception, pregnancy, or post-natally may be associated with an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in their babies.
How you can prevent/limit the negative effects of smoking
Here’s what you can do:
- Smoke outdoors if you have to.
- Absolutely avoid smoking in cars and confined spaces with little to no ventilation.
- Do not take your children to places that allow smoking.
- Quit smoking.
Life before and after children are wildly different so parents must acknowledge and accept that smoking is an unhealthy habit. Smoking not only affects them but also their children.
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