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Author Topic: SIDS, aka Cot Death  (Read 6326 times) Average Rating: 0
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EofK
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« on: May 15, 2008, 03:57:40 PM »

I came across some info on a parenting forum about a doctor in New Zealand who believes he has found the cause of SIDS (also called Cot Death or Crib Death) to be bacteria mixing with the fire-retardant materials in mattresses to form what is essentially a nerve gas.  He suggests wrapping the top and sides of a crib mattress with a polyethylene cover to encourage the gasses to travel toward the floor instead of staying close to the baby's face. 

Is there any scientific merit to this?  It seems odd that a solution that seems so definitive would be overlooked in the US and Britain (of the countries mentioned, anyway) since SIDS is such a big problem in those places.  My concern with wrapping a mattress in polyethylene is that if there were a house fire, the wrapping would melt to the baby (yeowch), which is exactly what chemically-treated mattresses are trying to prevent.

Here are some links to the info (unfortunately, I couldn't find any official studies, just magazine articles and infomercial-type pages).  The first page rambles off into conspiracy theory, which makes me a little suspicious of the idea from the start.

Crib death article
Childalert.co.uk article
Dr. Sprott's website

(Edited to clean up some cut/paste booboos.)
« Last Edit: May 15, 2008, 03:59:14 PM by EofK » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2008, 04:49:31 PM »

I haven't heard anything about mattresses etc. A more "estabished" view on SIDS is that it has to do with a "toxic shock-like" response to some infections:

http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1016/j.femsim.2004.06.013

http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1574-695X.1999.tb01326.x

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6X16-4NXHCCR-2&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=c8421f0d565f9acafba8911ce66ebf4e
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2008, 04:52:24 PM »

Interesting, thank you for the links!  (I was counting on you to know something, Professor!)
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2008, 05:05:29 PM »

We have always co-slept. I know of a few moms that use organic crib mattresses for exactly this reason.
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2008, 05:27:29 PM »

^We have a few times, but it's uncomfortable for everyone but Caitlin.  She ends up sprawling across the whole bed!  According to these reports, though, adult mattresses are just as unsafe with the chemicals.  I don't care much for the idea of wrapping my own bed in polyethylene so I think I'll leave her to her own crib.   laugh
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2008, 05:27:47 PM »

This is the first I've heard of the theory. I wouldn't say that I was "well-read" on the subject, but having two small ones, I have kept my eyes/ears open the last few years.
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2008, 05:28:44 PM »

Hey, good to see you're back!  This is the first I'd heard of this too, which makes me wonder how valid it is.
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2008, 05:29:47 PM »

Interesting, thank you for the links!  (I was counting on you to know something, Professor!)

You are most welcome, Mrs. Y.! I don't really know much about this specific problem, but I know a little bit about this so-called "toxic shock syndrome," because my research background is in immunology, and TSS is, actually, an immunological phenomenon. The thing is, some microbial toxins happen to bind to a little portion of the molecule that sticks out from various white blood cells. Although generally these cells have nothing in common with each other, just this tiny molecular moiety happens to be the same in all of them, in all the many millions of them. So they react to this microbial toxin all at once, producing substances that cause an incredibly rapid and sometimes lethal inflammatory reaction. It was first described in the 1980-s when, because of a human error, a big party of contaminated feminine hygienic tampons was admitted to retail. A staphylococcal toxin from these tampons caused sudden shock and death in several hundred or even thousand women. As far as I know, something similar is thought to cause SIDS.
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2008, 05:34:45 PM »

Interesting, I wondered how that would work.  Would TSS be evident in an autopsy?
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2008, 06:08:03 PM »

Interesting, I wondered how that would work.  Would TSS be evident in an autopsy?

I would think so. Here is perhaps one of the earliest descriptions: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7203450 (in plain English, it's massive swelling of the skin and of the connective tissue in all internal organs, plus signs of inflammation of the internal lining of the wall of blood vessels).
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2008, 07:55:09 PM »

I came across some info on a parenting forum about a doctor in New Zealand who believes he has found the cause of SIDS (also called Cot Death or Crib Death) to be bacteria mixing with the fire-retardant materials in mattresses to form what is essentially a nerve gas.  He suggests wrapping the top and sides of a crib mattress with a polyethylene cover to encourage the gasses to travel toward the floor instead of staying close to the baby's face. 


This is a bit puzzling because in America baby mattresses are covered in plastic already.  That way we can wash them down when they're barfed, pooped or spit up on.  I don't see how the fire-retardant can seep through the thick plastic lining.  Huh
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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2008, 08:33:54 PM »

If a baby sleeps on his/her back (as recommended), the "toxic gas" cocktail is likely to diffuse into the air in such concentrations where the baby's life will not be endangered.

If a baby sleeps on his/her face, the "toxic gas" cocktail is increasingly concentrated resulting in the possible death of the baby.
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2008, 09:05:09 AM »

This is a bit puzzling because in America baby mattresses are covered in plastic already.  That way we can wash them down when they're barfed, pooped or spit up on.  I don't see how the fire-retardant can seep through the thick plastic lining.  Huh

I imagine the issue is when the plastic covering is taken off, but also according to this doctor the bottom of the mattress should be exposed to allow ventilation.  He's also suggesting that those plastic coverings have the same chemicals as the fire-retardant so it would compound the issue.  I currently have our baby mattress without the plastic covering but with a waterproof mat between the mattress and the sheet so the mattress isn't ruined when there's a cataclismic spill.   Wink
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2008, 10:38:22 AM »

We had five children and they always slept with us for the first two years on top of my chest in the parental bed, as a result now I always sleep primarily on my back (originally started to keep from turningover on the baby). Now I have a 2 year old grandson who sleeps with his papa and omi whenever he is over for a sleepover.

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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2008, 11:09:35 PM »

I came across some info on a parenting forum about a doctor in New Zealand who believes he has found the cause of SIDS (also called Cot Death or Crib Death) to be bacteria mixing with the fire-retardant materials in mattresses to form what is essentially a nerve gas. 

My first question on this would be: When was fire-retardent first put in matresses (and it occurs to me, do they really have this and is it all mattresses or just some)?  Next: Did SIDS happen before this time?  Are there records of babies just dying?  Then again, considering that about a century ago and for long before that, there was a good chance that a baby would not reach the age of 5 with many dying before their first birthday due to diseases and malnutrition, there could have been SIDS before it was diagnosed. And that makes me want to go look up just when it was given the name, as opposed to Crib Death.

And what about flame-retardant pajamas?

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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2008, 11:15:28 PM »

This is the first I've heard of the theory. I wouldn't say that I was "well-read" on the subject, but having two small ones, I have kept my eyes/ears open the last few years.

Same here.  We were told when ours were very new to have them on their sides between two rolled baby blankets or other firm supports when they were in the crib.

Mind you, during the night feedings they were between Mom and Dad (and sometimes a cat would snuggle up, but all of them were 1) large and 2) once they got active they tended to go sideways between the 2 of us, plant their feet on one parent, their head in the other and SHOVE!.  Good think we have a queen-sized bed.  Wink  They all turned out all right and quite strong.

Ebor
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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2008, 11:16:36 PM »

I currently have our baby mattress without the plastic covering but with a waterproof mat between the mattress and the sheet so the mattress isn't ruined when there's a cataclismic spill.   Wink

"When" is the right word, there is no "if" involved.  and waterproof mattress pads FTW!! 

Ebor
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« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2008, 01:20:12 AM »

Ebor,

I believe IKEA does not put the fire retardant in their mattresses (although I don't know if they make them for cribs) as Sweden is apparently VERY strict about standards surrounding chemical use in products (so IKEA applies these standards to all their products, regardless of where they are to be sold).

Thomas - I slept with my kids on my chest too - the first son until he was 3 months old, and then he got too heavy as he is a big boy, so then he went on the adult bed when he required it (he still does actually). The second only required sleeping on my chest for the first week of his life, ( and then after that he would only sleep on the bed occasionally, and now not at all at 10  months old - amazing how siblings can be so different). I actually really like it until they get too heavy!  I did this after the hospital lactation consultant recommended it after my first was born because my baby wouldn't sleep at all unless he was held. She also recommended that we sleep chest to chest, because while it's not safe for a baby to sleep on their tummies while in a crib/bed, apparently sleeping chest to chest actually helps to keep them going. The adult's body rhythms (breathing, heartbeat) help regulate the baby's systems. Kinda neat.
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« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2008, 01:20:06 PM »

My eldest child would stop breathing on occasion at night in the first 2mths of life. And when she slept on my chest she would start right back up. When she slept between us I had to kinda jostle her to get her started again.
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« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2008, 11:22:45 AM »

I ran across an article today that suggests a hearing test could indicate babies at risk for SIDS.  Apparently babies whose death was ruled as SIDS were found to have had lower scores on hearing tests as a newborn.  Here's the link:  Hearing Test Could Indicate SIDS Risk
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« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2008, 11:50:39 AM »

I am a big believer in the family bed, and fear the toxicity of bedding materials for children, etc...   However, I don't think this is primary cause of SIDS.  There have been SIDS deaths long before the introduction or widespread use of synthetic bedding materials.  People have been using linen, cotton, fiber or horse hair ticking for a long time and there were still unexplained deaths that were not attributable to overlying.  These new materials are certainly not good for children to be around, and maybe they might exacerbate problems that were already present, but I just don't see how they could be the sole trigger given the historical presence of SIDS.
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« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2008, 11:57:45 AM »

I'm inclined to believe it's a combination of factors, really.  It seems like just about any thing can contribute to it but when it gets right down to brass tacks, no one really knows what the root cause is.  That's something that can make a first-time parent paranoid but the best we can do is eliminate obvious risks.
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« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2008, 04:32:26 PM »

I'm inclined to believe it's a combination of factors, really.  It seems like just about any thing can contribute to it but when it gets right down to brass tacks, no one really knows what the root cause is.  That's something that can make a first-time parent paranoid but the best we can do is eliminate obvious risks.

Believe me.  You're being perfectly normal with your concern.  I can tell you that the first time our oldest slept through the night we both awoke and the first thought was "Is he dead?!?"  He wasn't, but we had the same reaction with the other two in the same way.  But we put them all on their sides with low firm rolls baby blankets. we made sure that there were not loose objects, blankets or such, that the room was a good temperature and all that.  All three are bouncy, noisy and very opinionated as well as mostly healthy. 

Ebor
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« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2008, 04:40:33 PM »

I've done the same thing and I'm sure I've scared Mr. Y a couple of times when I go bounding into Caitlin's room to see if she's still alive.  Just one of those midnight mommy freakouts.
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« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2008, 07:17:57 AM »

We had five children and they always slept with us for the first two years on top of my chest in the parental bed, as a result now I always sleep primarily on my back (originally started to keep from turningover on the baby). Now I have a 2 year old grandson who sleeps with his papa and omi whenever he is over for a sleepover.

Thomas 

Can you speak more about this?  As someone who may become a baba ("daddy" in Greek) in the next couple of years, I'm intrigued...
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« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2008, 01:41:15 PM »

Cleveland - I noticed no one responded to this and I really think this is a safety issue that you need to be aware of.  Thomas had no problems with his children and grandchildren thank God, but I would really discourage husbands from being the primary co-sleeper with their children.  Husbands are not attuned to a baby's sleep-wake movements.  Sleep scientists have shown that mothers are lighter sleepers (barring any alcohol, drugs, OTC meds, or overly tired, etc...) and are more "aware" of their baby's presence and will not roll over on them.  I would not encourage you to do this at all, other than a short nap with others around who would notice if the baby slipped off your chest and fell in between the couch cushions.   When I co-slept with my kids, especially when they were small babies, I kept my body between them and my husband.  Same goes for co-sleeping with babies and young children.  There's a danger of an older child injuring a baby when they sleep together.  Moms should keep themselves between anyone who might roll over, or accidentally kick or hit the baby.
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« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2008, 01:50:25 PM »

My kids have always slept between my husband and I. Otherwise they would roll off the bed. Another solution would be to put up a bedrail.
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« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2008, 02:29:00 PM »

Cleveland - I noticed no one responded to this and I really think this is a safety issue that you need to be aware of.  Thomas had no problems with his children and grandchildren thank God, but I would really discourage husbands from being the primary co-sleeper with their children.  Husbands are not attuned to a baby's sleep-wake movements.  Sleep scientists have shown that mothers are lighter sleepers (barring any alcohol, drugs, OTC meds, or overly tired, etc...) and are more "aware" of their baby's presence and will not roll over on them.  I would not encourage you to do this at all, other than a short nap with others around who would notice if the baby slipped off your chest and fell in between the couch cushions.   When I co-slept with my kids, especially when they were small babies, I kept my body between them and my husband.  Same goes for co-sleeping with babies and young children.  There's a danger of an older child injuring a baby when they sleep together.  Moms should keep themselves between anyone who might roll over, or accidentally kick or hit the baby.

Thanks for the info!
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