Posts tagged as: Parenting

Smoking in cars with children: is it illegal, or just frowned upon?

While smoking in your car isn’t illegal on its own, thanks to legislation passed in 2015, smoking in the car when children are around is. This important law applies to every driver in England and Wales, and protects children from the harm done by secondhand smoke.

Here’s what you need to know, and a few tips on other ways to stay sane with children in the car.

Is it illegal to smoke in a car with children?

It’s illegal to smoke in a vehicle carrying anyone under 18 years of age, and both the driver and the smoker could be fined £50 for doing so. Under the same legislation, anyone in a car carrying a child could be fined for not stopping someone else from smoking.

The bottom line? Don’t smoke in the car when there are youngsters around.

Why is it illegal?

The legislation was passed to protect children and young people from secondhand smoke. Sometimes referred to as ‘passive smoking’, breathing in secondhand smoke can put children at risk of serious conditions such as meningitis, cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia, and make pre-existing conditions like asthma worse.

Why can’t I just open a window?

Cigarette smoke contains high levels of air pollutants and cancer-causing chemicals like arsenic, formaldehyde and tar, which are not adequately blown away or dissipated simply by opening a window. In the confined space of a moving vehicle, there is no way for a child to maintain a safe distance.

What about vaping or e-cigarettes?

Currently the legislation does not apply to vaping or e-cigarettes.

What else do I need to know?

The law applies to any private vehicle enclosed by a roof, even if the smoker is sitting in the open doorway of the vehicle. It doesn’t apply to drivers who are 17 if they are alone in the car.

What can I do instead?

If the thought of a long car journey with children makes you anxious, there are plenty of ways to make the experience less stressful besides smoking.

  • Play car games. Come up with several options ahead of time so you don’t get stuck. I Spy, Scavenger Hunts, and 20 Questions are all good options.
  • Add extra time. Travelling with children always takes longer than you think it will, so avoid stress by leaving plenty of extra time to deal with minor emergencies – like forgetting a mobile phone at a service station.
  • Bring entertainment. Books, devices with movies and games, in-car DVD players, singalong CDs– all will keep the kids occupied when you need a bit of quiet time.
  • Take breaks, and be flexible about when you take them. Give everyone time to stretch and use the loo – and time for you to smoke at a safe distance from your children if you need.
  • Pack snacks. Pack snacks. And one more thing: pack snacks!
    If you’re a smoker who’s considering quitting, there are lots of resources around to help you take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle. Visit the NHS’s Smokefree website to find out how you can stop smoking.

At Compass Fostering, we follow governmental guidelines regarding secondhand smoke and have our own policies about placing children with foster carers who smoke. While smoking does not automatically rule you out as a foster carer, there are important guidelines to follow. Learn more about our smoking regulations in this article, or get in touch to find out more.

Shy kids? How parents can help foster children make friends at school

If you’re caring for a child who’s on the shy side, you’ve probably noticed that it can be a little difficult for them to make friends – especially in all the bustle of school. The good news is that there’s lots you can do to help your shy child gain confidence.

Support your child to show positive behaviour with these proven behaviour management strategies

Behaviour management can help children learn how to act appropriately by giving them structure and guidance. Positive behaviour management strategies work by rewarding good behaviour instead of disciplining for doing something wrong. Rewards can be as simple as praise, a popular activity, or a favourite meal.

How to Explain Ramadan to a Child

Millions of Muslims around the world will be celebrating the start of Ramadan this Thursday. Ramadan is considered to be most holy month in the Islamic calendar; it is a month for devout prayer and fasting during daylight. Sometimes it can be difficult to explain why Ramadan is important, especially to children or young people who may have never heard of it before.

Useful Websites for Teaching from Home

While the rest of the country has been stock piling toilet rolls, the Compass Education team have been stock piling a list of useful home schooling websites in preparation for possibly long periods of school closures. These websites should ease that slight feeling of anxiety about how we are all going to cope with the Corona Virus Limbo and come out the other side.

Being Aware of Internet Safety for Children

Internet Safety for Children is a hot topic at the moment. Children are gaining their own digital independence from as early as the age of 10, a recent study by Ofcom states, so keeping an eye on your child’s internet usage is key when it comes to their safety.

How to Encourage your Child to Read for Pleasure

Significantly less children are reading for pleasure; The National Literacy Trust has found. In 2019, just over half of 8 to 18 year-olds said that they read for fun, and only a quarter of young people read daily.

Tips for Children and their Safety Online

We all have a role to play in helping to make sure that the internet is a safe, fun place for young people to explore. This Safer Internet Day, we’re celebrating children being able to express themselves online, whilst being SMART.

How to Help Transgender Children

We are not born knowing what it is to be a boy or a girl or with an assigned gender; whether we like pink or blue or cars or dolls, but we are encouraged into a binary from a very early age. If your child begins to continually reject their gender’s stereotypical traits, it can be surprising and sometimes unexpected.


What to do on results day – A guide for young people

What to do on results day

What to do on results day:

The night before you collect your results try to get a good night’s sleep. Getting your results can be both an exciting and anxious time.
Make sure you know what time and where to collect your results and aim to be on time.
Well done if you have achieved or succeeded your grades!
If you tried your best but haven’t quite achieved the grades you hoped for or needed for your next step whatever that may be – don’t panic!

College application
If you have applied to a college and haven’t achieved the exact entry requirements, contact the college in the first instance. Colleges can be flexible and depending on your grades it may not make a difference however it is advisable to call them. On some occasions you may be offered a lower level course which just means you have an extra year of study but this can be a good thing as you will gain more skills and knowledge along the way and give you a good understanding of your subject for the following year’s course.

Sixth form and year 13
For sixth form and year 13, if you haven’t achieved the desired grades speak to the post 16 adviser within the school, they may be flexible with entry requirements depending on your grades.
However if you do not have the desired grades for 6th form it is hoped you have a back-up plan of another school or college place. Call the school or college immediately on receiving your results.
Many colleges will accept applications on results day if they have the places available on their courses.
If all else fails and you find yourself without a post 16 or college place, there are other options such as apprenticeships and training providers offering courses which have start dates after September.
Most importantly speak to the adults around you who will help you to make decisions.

Unhappy with your exam results?
If you are unhappy with your results, speak to your teachers about the best options for you. You might decide to see your exam paper, go for a review, or re-sit your exam.
Further reading:

Congratulations if you have achieved the grades you needed for your chosen University course.
If you haven’t achieved the grades you needed you can apply for other courses through Clearing.
Clearing is a service from UCAS which gives students a final chance to apply for a university course beginning in September. It runs from mid-July to September each year.
In Clearing you can see which courses have places remaining. You can use Clearing if you:
• have already completed a UCAS application
• apply after 30 June – You’ll automatically be entered into clearing if you apply late for your course (after 30 June)
• didn’t receive any offers (or none you wanted to accept)
• didn’t meet the conditions of your offers

Finding a course through Clearing
You can find out which courses have vacancies through UCAS from mid-August to late September. Not all universities or courses have vacancies, and some may be filled quickly.
You can contact universities and colleges about getting a place once you’ve got your exam results.

Learn how clearing works

Accepting an offer
You can only accept 1 offer. When your place is confirmed, you have to accept it and can’t look for another place.

Help & advice
Contact the UCAS Exam Results Helpline for free advice – 0808 100 8000

Useful websites and apps:
Apprenticeships –
The Princes Trust –
UCAS (The Universities and Colleges Application Service) –
National Careers Service –
Child line (free 24 hour counselling service for children and young people) –
Stop Breathe & Think. A free mindfulness, and meditation app aimed to reduce stress and anxiety –
Calm. A free meditation app to reduce anxiety, sleep better and feel happier –