Social workers have removed a toddler from his chain smoking parents after making a welfare check on a home in Kingston upon Hull, a city in the East Riding of Yorkshire, UK. The boy, who is two years of age, has already been forced onto an inhaler because of the saturated, second-hand smoke that hung in the home, described as a “visible cloud of smoke.”
Writes the NY Daily News: “A 2-year-old boy who had been living in a ‘cloud of smoke’ will be placed for adoption after a judge ruled he be removed from his parents’ care. The child, who needs an inhaler to breathe, was also forced to live in a home full of drug paraphernalia and had electrical wires dangling over his toy box.”
The health visitor reported that the “smoky house” was “dirty, smelly and unhygienic.” A petition was successfully made to a family judge for the minor to be removed. The youngster was taken to a medical clinic, where he was tested and found to be suffering ill effects from over two years of exposure to his heavy-smoking parents.
Not only did the judge remove the child, who was identified by his initials A.B., she is recommending that the infant boy be put up for adoption.
“The parents seemed unable… when the issue of smoking around (the boy) was raised by any other professional, to acknowledge or appreciate the concern and adapt their behavior,” commented Hull Family Court Judge Louise Pemberton. “I find that there were numerous occasions when (AB) was exposed to excessive levels of smoke in the home that will have had an impact on his health and well-being.”
Judge Pemberton said she feels that the child’s parents did love him, but were unable to stop smoking or care for him or provide him with a healthy environment.
“The parents loved him very much and tried very hard but due to their own difficulties and difficult backgrounds, they were simply not able to meet his needs,” she said.
As evidence in the Family Court hearing, health visitor Julie Allen testified that she had never seen a home that was so overly saturated with cigarette smoke. Other factors and conditions contributing to the ruling included exposed electrical wires, the father’s mental health issues, cat feces and urine and general squalid conditions throughout the home.
“Potential drug paraphernalia” was also found within the home, investigators said, though they did not confirm if the parents were using drugs.
Incredulously, the parents, who were not identified, have three older children who also were the subject of Family Court hearings over the same unsanitary conditions within the home.
In defense, the mother told the judge that they only smoked “on occasion” in the kitchen, and opened up the windows when they did.
“I have been paranoid about the cleanliness of the floors and make sure that these are steam-cleaned at least twice a day,” she said.
Despite that claim, social workers found overflowing ashtrays, cigarette butts littered about the floor, filthy diapers strewn about and aged food that had dried all over home.
Judge Pemberton said: “I am afraid that all of these matters lead me to an unavoidable and difficult conclusion that the risks to AB in being placed with his parents are far too high.”
According to the CDC, there is “no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure; even brief exposure can be harmful to health.” The CDC reports that since 1964, “approximately 2,500,000 nonsmokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.”
Do you agree that a toddler should be removed from a home with smoking parents?