Making the right decisions for your child's health isn't always easy, and there's a ton of harmful stuff to worry about when trying to keep them healthy and safe — especially when the science and information behind those choices constantly change. Your parents may have put you to bed as a baby on your tummy with toys and blankets in your crib. You might even remember riding in cars as a child without a seat belt. We make better, safer decisions about those things now because decades of research point us in the right direction.
One thing that's apparently tripping up many modern parents, though, is figuring out the dos and don'ts of being a weed mom (or dad). In fact, a teacher is now going viral on TikTok for her plea to parents: Please stop getting baked around your kids.
"I'm nervous about this, but this shit needs to be said. Stop smoking weed around your kid," says Halle J (@hallejwithsoulandself).
Although Halle compares smoking weed to smoking cigarettes, many people (rightfully) point out in the comments that smoking cigarettes around your kid is a hard no, too. What the comparison does do is highlight, to some degree, why people may be fuzzy about the quote-unquote rules surrounding pot and parenting.
For what feels like forever now, experts have cautioned the dangerous effects of smoking cigarettes — including what secondhand smoke can do to those around you. Most of that time, we were simply warned to stay far away from weed altogether as it was an illegal substance. But with recreational weed use now legal in almost half of U.S. states, the public perception has shifted. Because it isn't routinely linked to cancer like cigarettes, it feels... safe.
However, as Halle points out, you might not realize just how much smoking weed around your kid actually affects them.
"Look, I don't care what you do in your free time," she says in her now-viral video. "I get it. But around your kid? It is like night and day in the classroom right now. Your kids are coming into the classroom wreaking of weed as if they're the ones that just smoked."
The effects she rattles off include various issues, from little ones sleeping through the day to second graders being distracted by the munchies. "They can't focus; they can't hold a conversation," she laments. And since those issues are, well, non-issues on the days the kids come in not smelling like marijuana, she feels like the explanation is obvious.
Judging by the comments on the video, she isn't the only one. Many teachers weighed in about witnessing firsthand a lack of forethought from parents who smoke weed.
"Yep. I've had high KINDERGARTENERS. Hate seeing parents hotbox while driving their literal children to school," commented Shannon.
So, what do experts say on the subject?
Admittedly, not much is known about the damage marijuana can cause to a child. Since weed is still illegal at the federal level, testing is nearly impossible. "To a degree, we suffer from lack of evidence," Dr. David Beuther told NPR. Beuther is a pulmonologist and associate professor of medicine at National Jewish Health in Denver who is often confronted with parents who want to know if weed exposure is safer than tobacco smoke. "There is no reason to believe that it is any safer than tobacco smoke exposure."
The American Lung Association cautions that "recent studies have found strong associations between those who said there was someone in the home or a caretaker who used marijuana and the child having detectable levels of THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana)."
To be clear, no one is shaming parents for smoking — and Halle isn't accusing parents of purposely getting their kids high. But when we know better, we do better... and teachers are telling us it's time to do better.