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Should a mother-in-law who smokes be allowed to baby-sit?
Q: I’m going back to work because we need the money. My mother-in-law wants to live with us to watch our baby, but we’re not close. She smokes and doesn’t have a good vocabulary. Is a good idea? I'm not comfortable with the arrangement at all.
Nimsay New York
A: It’s nice for a baby to have a grandmother care for him in the comfort of his own home. This way he’s with one person he knows rather than exposed to multiple caregivers in a daycare setting. He also won’t be exposed to lots of children, so he won’t be coming home with one illness after the next.

I think you should focus on making the option work with your mother-in-law. Nicely remind her of the dangers of secondhand smoke. Tell her that it’s also called passive smoking, and it’s just like putting a cigarette in a child’s mouth. Persuade her to smoke outside the house, relying on a baby monitor or watching your child through a window while he’s in a playpen.

Also, have your mother–in-law watch you for several days as you care for your baby, so she learns your routine. I hope you can make this work.