Tag Archives: health

Should smoking in cars carrying children be banned?

OK I’ve been meaning to post on this for a while now, but I kept forgetting so I’m finally getting to it.

This emerged after Jim Hume MSP launched a bid to make this illegal. I have good points and further development points to this.

I like the fact that this has finally got the light it deserves as it is an issue that is constantly around. In fact my Nan smokes in the car on a regular basis so it’s something that I know first hand.

It is no secret that smoking doesn’t just affect you, it affects others around you too. In fact I remember seeing on the news a couple of years ago before the smoking ban was introduced in public buildings, where the two bartenders were tested for traces of nicotine in their system, even though neither smoked themselves. They found that both bartenders had traces in their body, meaning that they could just as easily get lung cancer as the smokers themselves. If this is true for adults with developed immune systems, think about the damage it can do to children who’s immune systems are not necessarily so fully developed.

I have actually worked in a school where a child’s mother smokes in the car on the way to school, and it has been a fair few occasions where the child has come in with clothes smelling of nicotine. This is not something that the other children don’t notice and it led her to be isolated by her peers, causing low self esteem, which in turn led to lower attainment.

I respect the fact that this has got some recognition, but I think this isn’t the only thing that needs to be questioned. The parents smoking anywhere where children are present should be made illegal in my opinion. It’s not just the nicotine fumes either. I’m also looking at the kind of role model that sets up. We have seen a rise in teenage smoking over past few years, yet noone seems to give a thought as to why that may be. Bandura claims that children develop the behaviours of their caregivers, so maybe the children adopt smoking because their parents do.

 

Comment your thoughts 🙂

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Save the Children report – Malnutrition and Literacy

Today’s article is rather similar to my previous post about School dinners, although this time it’s been noted that authors have backed a report about malnutrition effecting literacy standards.

A group of leading authors including Julia Donaldson is highlighting new research that malnutrition leaves children struggling to read and write.

The children’s laureate backs a global study that suggests children who are badly malnourished are 20% more likely to misread simple sentences.

The Save the Children report on 7,300 eight-year-olds says quality schooling can be cancelled out by malnourishment.

A quarter of the world’s children are thought to be stunted by malnutrition.

The Gruffalo author is joined by Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman, David Walliams and others in raising concerns about the connection between malnourishment and poor literacy levels ahead of the G8 global nutrition summit in London on 8 June.

Donaldson says: “The devastating impact of malnutrition shouldn’t be underestimated. It stunts a child’s development, sapping the strength of their minds as well as their body, depriving them of the chance to be able to read or write a simple sentence. Leaders attending this summit have a golden opportunity to stop this. They must invest more funding to tackle malnutrition if we are to stop a global literacy famine.”

The Study

The long-term consequences of child malnutrition for health and resilience to disease are well established. But this research, carried out by the University of Oxford for the charity, presents new evidence that for the first time identifies the impact of malnutrition on educational outcomes across a range of countries.

The researchers followed children in four countries – Ethiopia, India, Peru and Pakistan – throughout their childhood, interviewing and testing them at key points in their lives to determine their educational abilities, confidence, hopes and aspirations.

The study suggests children who are malnourished at the start of life are severely disadvantaged in their ability to learn.

As well as the lower basic literacy abilities, stunted children score 7% lower on maths tests and are 12% less likely to be able to write a simple sentence at the age of eight compared with non-stunted children.

They are also 13% less likely to be in the appropriate grade for their age at school.

Save the Children chief executive Justin Forsyth said: “These findings confirm our very worst fears – that poor nutrition is capable of seriously damaging a child’s life chances before he or she even sets foot in a classroom.

“We have made huge progress in tackling child deaths, but having a quarter of the world’s children at risk of underperforming at school will have grave consequences for the fight to end global poverty.”

Important lesson for teachers and parents I think. Kids need the right nutrition, too many kids are being disadvantaged by all this. We know that this is not the only factor, but we can at least tackle one of the biggest ones now.