Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Prevent SIDS with These!

Prevent SIDS with These!

Okay, so if you’ve read anything that I’ve written about SIDS then you know that my title is sarcastic. However, people are probably going to find this blog entry by typing in “SIDS prevention” so I thought I’d start off by mentioning that.

Ahhh…SIDS prevention. I like those words about as much as I like hearing the words “kidney infection” when I’m at the doctor’s office. The FDA has gotten in on the act and doesn’t like it either. Recently, they put forth this notice:

Some baby products are being marketed over-the-counter with claims to cure, treat, or prevent a disease or condition. Because of these claims, these baby products are medical devices, subject to FDA regulation.
A common medical claim being made is the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development defines SIDS as "the sudden death of an infant under one year of age, which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history."
The FDA has never cleared or approved a baby product to prevent or reduce the risk of SIDS. The Agency is not aware of any scientific studies showing that a medical device prevents or reduces the risk of SIDS.
Examples of common over-the-counter baby products with unproven claims to prevent or reduce the risk of SIDS include:
·         baby monitors,
·         mattresses,
·         crib tents,
·         pillows,
·         crib bedding, including bumpers and blankets, and
·         infant positioners.”

Still, there are many companies and doctors that claim to be able to prevent the thing that the medical community isn’t even clear about. So what’s the word on the street these days, product wise?

1.       Nanny Monitor- For $130 you can order this from Europe. It “prevents SIDS” by setting off an alarm if your baby stops breathing. Unfortunately, many experts believe that the breathing is actually the last thing that stops and that the baby is brain dead first which is why parents who were even holding their babies at the time were unable to resuscitate them. What this might do, however, is help with other medical problems, such as alerting to sleep apnea or choking incidents if the baby stops breathing. (Those, however, are not SIDS.)
2.       Amby Baby Hammock- Wow! Nearly 2500 of these have been sold and not one single baby has died of SIDS in one. Yet. Of course, a couple of babies DID die in them from accidental suffocation. They don’t use that in their marketing ploys, though.
3.       BabeSafe Mattress Cover- According to their own statistics, this is the ONLY 100% effective way of preventing SIDS. And no baby has ever died when sleeping on one of these. The evidence shows that toxic gasses escape from mattresses and that’s what is causing SIDS. This doesn’t explain, however, how babies die of SIDS when they are in car seats, arms, or other surfaces that are NOT mattresses. Oh, there is even a book to “prove” this theory called the “Cot Death Cover Up.” Just another moneymaking ploy, although safe mattresses are important. The company’s argument is that while their theory hasn’t been scientifically proven, it hasn’t been disproven, either.
4.       Halo Sleep Sacks- Yep, put them in one of these and you can “prevent SIDS” according to the labels. Yeah, right. Just tell that to a few of my friends who lost babies while they were sleeping in these sacks.
5.       Infant sleep positioners- Not only do these NOT prevent SIDS by keeping your baby on its back but they’ve actually been recalled in some cases because they’ve caused death by suffocation.

Now, before I’m called a hypocrite here, we did purchase the Snuza. The Snuza is a breathing monitor that you clip to the diaper. It can be worn and used in any situation, except in the bath. While we know that if SIDS really occurred there is nothing we could do about it, we at least want to be alarmed this time if it happens so that we can try and say we did our best.

The problem with using the word “prevention” is that it gives people the idea that SIDS can actually be stopped, when it can’t at this point. Risks may or may not be reduced, depending on who you talk to. But with a word like “prevention” it gives people the idea that if you did lose a baby to SIDS then there must have been something that you didn’t do correctly. And, as well all know, that’s just not the case. 


Katie (LukeGrantsMom) said...

“Prevent SIDS” is a term that can drive me a bit crazy as well. As parents who have lost babies to…whatever it is or whatever combinations of things it is – I feel as well this implies that we did not do something that would have prevented our baby’s death. I am a bit wary about the campaigns and all the money that goes in to informing us what we can do to prevent our babies from dying. Of course Luke died of SUID…so maybe all the prevention methods worked for us (more than a little sarcasm here as well). I don’t think the “risk reducers” are not worth knowing, hedge your bets when possible. That is a safe motto. Some people are convinced they have saved thousands of lives. But informing people of things they can do to “prevent” something, when nobody knows why they appear to work is wrong.

Jenny said...

I hate it when people argue with you to. I just want to should SUFFOCATION IS NOT SIDS. SIDS happens after the age of 1. No one is safe dammit.