But these don't always provide a clear enough picture of a young child's environment.
Questions can be ambiguous or misunderstood by the child's caregiver, or the caregiver may be consciously or unconsciously less than accurate with their answers.
A report, however, in the May 2 issue of JAMA's Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine says that three significant but simple questions can provide an accurate prediction of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure.
Asking a child's primary caregiver usually the mother -- the seemingly straightforward yes/no question "Do you smoke?" does not capture all of the information health care professionals need to gauge risk to the child, according to Judith A. Groner, a clinical professor in the department of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health.
The study was conducted at Columbus Children's Hospital where 291 mothers or primary caregivers, both self-reported smokers (120) and nonsmokers (171), completed questionnaires that provided answers on demographics and smoking habits. If applicable, the surveys also indicated the location (inside/outside) where smoking occurred, the smoking status of other household members or visitors to the home, and the location in the home where their smoking occurred.
In addition, researchers collected hair samples from 291 children, age 3 or younger, whose primary caregiver completed the survey. The hair samples were used to determine the amount of cotinine in the child's body. Cotinine is a chemical transformed in the body from nicotine, which enters the body through inhaled cigarette smoke. Hair cotinine has been used in research to determine child ETS exposure, bu
Contact: David Crawford
Ohio State University