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Babies: Carbon Monoxide

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 28651, tabled on 12 March 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to protect (a) unborn children and (b) infants from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Answered on

19 March 2020

Long-term exposure to carbon monoxide gas can damage an unborn baby. Babies exposed to carbon monoxide during pregnancy are at risk of a low birth weight; stillbirth; death that occurs within the first four weeks of birth; and behavioural problems.

Women are tested for the presence of carbon monoxide at the antenatal booking appointment and as appropriate throughout pregnancy to identify smokers, or those exposed to tobacco smoke, and offer them a referral for support from a trained stop smoking advisor. Carbon monoxide testing may also highlight a household problem and the need to take measures to prevent further exposure.