Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Smoking in Cars - what else will we look back on and laugh about?

I see that in the news today the effects of passive smoking in cars on children is being debated.

Someones civil liberties are going to be eroded by any law passed or not passed, but whose will it be - parents or child?

I do take a second look at people smoking in cars with a toddler strapped in in the back seat. It just looks, well, wrong, in the same was that lighting up now on a plane would look. Trying not to judge here. Probably failing.

As an asthmatic, this is a subject close to my heart (or lungs). My mother smoked when pregnant with me. It was the 1970s and hey, a few glasses of wine for the road as well was the norm. She has cursed her younger self ever since. Nothing like having to schlep your wheezing, allergic child to clinic after clinic to make that Marlboro lose it's blissful allure.

And no, she didn't smoke with my siblings - all of whom are hale and hearty.

She was able to plead ignorance for the effects of smoking on me. Had she known, she would have given up without a second thought (or so she says).

So what are we doing nowadays that we will look back and cringe about with our children? Will the car seats of the future resemble full body casts of foam and we will laugh at our feeble attempts at safety? Will we find that fizzy drinks are the alcohol of the future, just one sip leading to the undiagnosed 'Foetal Fizz Intoxication'? Or perhaps, what we have slightly expected all along, that any mother who let their child go near a phthalate (a plasticizer in a children's toy, for example) is a BAD, BAD MOTHER.

What will cause future harm will probably come out of left field. An innocuous thing we are all doing and seems normal, like a Victorian mother letting a baby suck sugary gin-soaked rags as soothers. (Mmmm - gin soaked rag. I could just do with one of those right now...)

Occasionally, my mum will apologise to me about her smoking. I always hug her and tell her that having asthma, eczema and allergies has made me a stronger person, in a funny kind of way. Challenge is a good thing, right? But part of me will always point a little finger of blame at her for not knowing then, what we know now.


  1. The past has a habit of coming back to bite us doesn't it? I think we all try do our best but things move on and I'm sure our kids will blame us for things that are perfectly acceptable now but will be deemed 'wrong' in the next generation.

  2. The thing that comes to mind about the past, that seems to silly now, is that there used not be seatbelts in the backseats of cars. My parents used to spend a fortune getting them fitted and people laughed at them for it. Sure what was the need? Looking back now it seems crazy that people would have laughed when it is now law!! We all do our best with the knowledge (or paranoia) we have and hope that the future proves us right:) Jen.

  3. My father was talking the other day about how when we were kids we all just sat in the car without car seats or belts of any kind as Jen says. I remember being really small and travelling from London to Sussex every Friday night with my sisters in the back seat. Jumping around all over the place. Amazing what we got away with then.

    By the way there's an award for you at mine.

  4. I don't suppose we can win can we? I'm a great believer in common sense so hoping that holds me in good stead!

  5. Too right about the seatbelts Jen! The four of us would bounce around quite happily in the back of my mums car.
    Didn't Armstrong and Miller do a Safety First sketch about that?
    And thank you Mummy's Life...really sweet of you!

    Scribbling Mum, I am sure I am racking up hundreds of things that seem like common sense to me but my children will hold up as VERY POOR PARENTING!!