How to Protect Your Baby from SIDS

What do These Things Have in Common: An Epidemic of Baby Deaths in 1890, An Ambassador's Sudden Illness, Swamp Gas, and Old Mattresses?

The Answer Could Save Your Baby's Life!

All of these are clues which have brought scientists to the startling answer to the question, "Why do babies die of SIDS?"

For unknown reasons, parents of healthy babies wake only to find to their horror, their babies have died in the night. This was called Crib Death in the U.S.A., or Cot Death in the U.K. It is now called by the acronym SIDS for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Little is known of this tragic malady except for statistics:

  • SIDS is more common in babies from lower socio-economic classes.

  • A second-born child is twice as likely to die from it as a first-born.

  • A third-born child is even more likely to die from SIDS.

  • More cases occur in the winter months.

  • A higher percentage of babies die from SIDS while sleeping in their parent's bed than in their cribs.

  • The incidence of SIDS deaths is higher in Day Care Centers.

  • SIDS usually strikes infants between the ages of 1 month to 1 year.

  • 73% of babies who died from SIDS were found sleeping on their stomachs.

It was a New Zealand pediatrician who discovered this last statistic while questioning the mothers of SIDS babies. Using this statistic alone, he recommended infants be put to sleep on their backs instead of their stomachs.

This works beyond a doubt. Countries who have adopted this "Back to Sleep" recommendation have seen a 38% drop in the rate of SIDS. The problem with this recommendation:

  • No one knew why this works and,
  • After 5 months of age most babies can roll over, putting themselves at risk.

  • Clues to a Present Epidemic from a Past One

    In Italy in the 1890's more than one thousand babies died in a mysterious epidemic.

    A green pigment called Paris Green was all the rage at that time and was used extensively in fabrics in Italian homes. This pigment was made from a chemical process which contained arsenic. Arsenic, when in contact with mold or mildew produces a heavier-than-air gas called arsine. This gas collected on the floors where the Italian babies crawled. They died without outward symptoms.

    60 years later, in 1955 this knowledge helped diagnose the sudden illness of the American Ambassador to Italy, Claire Booth Luce. She became seriously ill while sleeping in her room at the embassy. She was suffering from arsine poisoning. Mildew feeding on arsenic in her wallpaper's paste and ceiling paint had created the gas which made her seriously ill, ending her career.

    In 1989 an English chemist, Dr. Barry Richardson studied the mattresses on which 200 infants had died of SIDS. He was searching for gasses thought to be causing these deaths.

    Being a renowned chemist with 247 published scientific papers to his credit; Dr. Richardson knew mildew and mold feeding on chemicals often produces gasses. The most common being ammonia created from microbes feeding on nitrogen.

    Phosphorus is a common element. Its gas, called phosphine is commonly created in swamps by microbes feeding on the phosphorus found there. This gas sometimes is ignited by methane rising from the swamp and creates a phenomenon known as "swamp fires."

    The suspected gasses in the SIDS deaths were; arsine from arsenic, phosphine from phosphorus, and stibine from the element antimony.

    The lethal effects of arsine are well known due to the disastrous epidemic in Italy.

    Phosphine has properties similar to mustard gas. The Technology Transfer Network Air Toxics Website of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says of phosphine, "Phosphine is used as an insecticide for the fumigation of grains, animal feed, and leaf-stored tobacco. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to phosphine may cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, burning substernal pain, nausea, vomiting, cough, labored breathing, chest tightness, pulmonary irritation, pulmonary edema, and tremors in humans."

    The U.S. Dept. of Labor's website lists the symptoms of stibine as: "Headaches; weakness; nausea, abdominal pain; lumbar pain; hemoglobinuria, hematuria; hemolytic anemia; jaundice; lung irritation." The Health effects: "Acute Systemic Toxicity."

    An Idea + A Simple Invention = Lives Saved

    In 1986 Dr. J. T. Sprott, a New Zealand Chemist, suggested SIDS deaths were caused by poisoning from gasses which were generated from chemicals in the babie's mattresses. He developed a mattress cover which is free of the suspected chemicals and impermeable to gasses. Although he was ridiculed for his lack of scientific data and his lack of "blind studies," NO BABIES who have slept with their mattresses covered with the cover Dr. Sprott developed have died in New Zealand.

    Finally an Explanation for the Statistics!

    Mildew and mold need two things to thrive: warmth and moisture. Both are found in abundance in crib mattresses with the infants supplying both. The longer a mattress is in use the more time fungus spores and microbes have to take hold and grow.

    Modern mattresses, usually made of polyvinyl chloride burn readily and break down into their original components, releasing gasses. This is called out-gassing. Arsenic, antimony, and phosphorus, along with even more chemicals are added to mattresses to slow this breakdown and as a fire retardant.

    Dr. Sprott, Dr. Richardson and other scientists surmised that molds and mildew in the infant's mattresses were feeding on the added chemicals causing the formation of toxic gasses. The babies were breathing in these gasses. Not being able to move away or lift themselves, they died.

    This explains why:

    • SIDS is more common in babies from lower socio-economic classes. Poorer families often use previously used mattresses. The longer a mattress has been in use, the more time mold and mildew have to develop and feed on the chemicals in these mattresses.

    • Second and third-born children are twice as likely to die from SIDS as a first-born. Again, the same mattress often is used for subsequent babies. Prolonged use creates more density of mold.

    • More cases occur in the winter months. Closed houses with less ventilation and high humidity are the perfect environment for molds and mildew.

    • A higher percentage of babies die from SIDS while sleeping in their parent's bed than in their cribs. The parent's pillows and their mattress have the same properties as the crib mattresses. These added chemicals in pillows and mattresses have been linked to illnesses in adults also.

    • The incidence of SIDS death is higher in Day Care Centers. Again, mattresses used for a long time.

    • SIDS usually strikes infants between the ages of 1 month to 1 year. Newborns are often in bassinets, which are only used for a short period. Older babies are able to move around and stand up to get away from these heavy gasses.

    • 73% of babies who died from SIDS were found sleeping on their stomachs. Stibine and arsine are very heavy gasses. Sleeping on their stomachs puts the infants' faces directly in the trapped gasses. Putting them on their backs lessens the exposure, but does not eliminate it.

    Dr. Richardson's research on the 200 SIDS related mattresses released to him by local coroners showed every mattress infected by the Scopulariopsis brevicaulis fungus from the babies' sweat and other body moisture. Every mattress had at least one of the chemicals, phosphorus, antimony and arsenic. He found also that 95% of these mattresses had been used by a previous baby.

    Why isn't this shouted from the rooftops?

    Critics of Richardson's theory argue that there has been no controlled study on this subject so therefore there is no scientific evidence backing it up. Dr. Richardson used newspapers and television to warn of his findings before he published a paper on it. This led to his being accused of unscientific behavior, i.e. "unnecessarily frightening mothers."

    Dr. Sprott also found himself at odds with the scientific community for much the same reasons. He blatantly claimed his protective covering prevented SIDS. This infuriated the medical establishments.

    As a rebuttal: The use of phosphorus and antimony as fire retardants in mattresses has not been scientifically proven to be safe, especially for infants.

    The answer to the accusation of no controlled studies: No ethical person in his right mind would use infants as guinea pigs in a controlled study of this subject. The proof, as with the proof of the benefits of the "Back to Sleep" campaign, comes with time.

    How Can You Protect Your Baby?

    No matter what controversy surrounds this theory, no matter if the theory is untested, if is wrong, or if there is something else in these mattresses causing these deaths, the action for a responsible parent to take is clear:

    • Put infants to sleep on their backs.

    • Use a new mattress when possible and cover your baby's mattress with a gas impermeable covering which does not have or was not manufactured with the use of the toxic-gas producing chemicals. Polyethylene is such a material. Used in thick sheets it won't cause suffocation or overheating. Wrap it securely around the mattress, being sure to leave space in the underside to ventilate the gasses safely downwards.

    • Use organic, chemical free bedding made from natural fibers. Organic wool is naturally fire resistant and therefore has no added chemicals. It wicks moisture away from the body where it evaporates. This causes a dry environment resistant to molds, mildew, and dust mites. Use organic wool for bedding whenever possible.

    • Write your congressperson, and others in authority to lobby to eliminate the addition of chemicals to crib mattresses.

    Whether Dr. Richardson is right or not, these steps will cause no harm to your precious baby, and may just save his life.

    References:

    *Baby's Bedding: Is It Creating Toxic Nerve Gases? By Joanne B. Quinn, RMA, PhD. Midwifery Today Newsletter.

    Crib Death Cause and Prevention by DR. J.T. Sprott http://www.babymattresscovers.com//images/crib_death_synopsis.pdf

    Dr Sprott's website for baby mattress covers. http://babymattresscovers.com/

    Website for natural, organic wool pillows and bedding for infants and adults. www.WoolieBeesOnline.com

    U.S. Dept. of Labor's website. http://www.osha.gov/dts/chemicalsampling/data/CH_267900.html

    Technology Transfer Network Air Toxics Website of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/phosphin.html

    National SIDS & Infant Death Program Support Center http://www.sidsalliance.org/health/health_human.html

    Biography of Claire Booth Luce http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/luce-cla.htm

    The Italian Epidemic http://www.criblife2000.com/gosio.htm

    Copyright 2005 All Rights Reserved

    SharpWriting.net

    This special report has been brought to you by WoolieBees Online. See our selection of pure organic woolen bedding made from 100% New Zealand wool. WoolieBeesOnline.com

    Suzy Sharpe, copywriter and author is always asking why. She has a need to know the reason behind something and isn't satisfied until she finds out. When hearing the "Back to Sleep" campaign was saving babie's lives she needed to understand the reason. This report is the result of her research.

    In The News:

    The Omicron Variant and Kids - What Parents Need to Know  What To Expect When You're Expecting
    How to Tell if Your Baby is Ready to Stop Drinking Formula  Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic
    When Do Babies Start Walking?  Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic
    Infant Immune Systems Are Stronger Than You Think  Columbia University Irving Medical Center

    You Have a New Person at Home: Babys Fourth Month Guide

    Baby is into her fourth month now.Mom's milk is best.Breast... Read More

    The Five Best Baby Shower Gifts

    Ask first time parents-to-be what baby shower gifts they would... Read More

    How To Look For Baby Books

    Look for Books! The books that you pick to read... Read More

    How To Choose a Baby Formula

    Breast milk is the most natural food for your baby,... Read More

    How To Get Your Baby into Baby Modeling?

    Parents everywhere believe that they have the cutest baby in... Read More

    13 Donts on Child Safety

    For years, we have been taught that 13 is an... Read More

    Guide to Choosing Toddler Toys

    The play has many more functions for toddlers than for... Read More

    Fun and Easy Baby Shower Crafts

    Baby shower crafts can be fun and easy to make.... Read More

    Quick Tips for a Successful Baby Shower

    Here are guidelines or quick baby shower tips for hosting... Read More

    Every Baby Shower Needs Great Baby Shower Games!

    Games for a baby shower help the baby shower hostess... Read More

    The Average Growth In Babies

    Growth charts are tools your pediatrician can use to keep... Read More

    Free Baby Shower Invitations

    Free baby shower invitations are the best! Everyone knows that... Read More

    How to Protect Your Baby from SIDS

    What do These Things Have in Common: An Epidemic of... Read More

    How to Have the Perfect Baby Boy Invitations

    Baby boy invitations are the first thing you'll need to... Read More

    Honor Grandma with a Baby Shower for Grandma

    Throwing a baby shower for grandma could be a great... Read More

    Robeez Shoes ? A Baby Shower Gift That Moms Will Thank You For

    Robeez shoes help your baby put their best foot forwardIf... Read More

    Baby Shower Favor Ideas

    With so many different aspects of a shower to plan,... Read More

    Baby Yoga and Me

    Having carried a sizable bump around for a very long,... Read More

    Luxury Baby Bedding - What to Look For Before You Buy

    When buying luxury baby bedding, perhaps first decide what style... Read More

    How Can I Teach My Toddler to Share?

    Helping your child move from breast breast milk or formula... Read More

    The Best Birth Gift

    If you are thinking of hiring a nanny, no doubt... Read More

    First Birthday Party: Game and Activities for Little Guests

    Do you want your baby to be thrilled by his... Read More

    Bonding with Baby

    Most parents bond instantly with their babies, an intense feeling... Read More

    Baby?s First Shoes: How to Choose the Right Ones

    Any parent of an active toddler has asked this question:... Read More

    The Personality Traits of a Sagittarius Baby

    Your Sagittarius Baby..November 22 - December 21 Young Sagittarians are... Read More