Sheriff Jay Russell would like to warn citizens of the effect that smoking in vehicles has on children.
Secondhand smoke in cars can be especially harmful to children due to the small, confined spaces where children are closer to the smoker and the smoke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. In children, secondhand smoke causes many health problems, including severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome. Even though many smokers choose to open a window or increase the ventilation, the child passenger is still not protected. Secondhand smoke lingers long after the smoking stops.
Many people are not aware, but in the state of Louisiana, smokers can be issued a citation for smoking in the vehicle with a child that is 13 years old or younger (LA RS 32:300.4).
Secondhand smoke is only one of the preventable dangers to child passengers. CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control reports that car crashes are among the leading causes of death for children in the United States. Child safety seats reduce the risk of injury related death to child passengers. Therefore, like childhood illness from secondhand smoke, childhood injury from improperly installed car seats is preventable. For more information on proper child restraint system visit our Child Safety Seat Page.