Safe sleep

I've debated writing this post for a long time. I often feel like the annoying rule -follower standing on my soap box, preaching about safe sleep - barking messages nobody wants to hear.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies under 1 sleep in their own cribs, with no blankets, bumpers, pillows, or anything else. They should have a tight fitting sheet on their mattress, be put down on their back, and wear a sleep sack and appropriately warm pajamas. They should not be over-bundled and should ideally have a fan on or air circulation in the room.

SIDS is not suffocation. When babies who stop breathing die of suffocation, the cause of death is "suffocation". SIDS is the sudden infant death of a child that has no explanation. I guess my point is that even though you might feel very comfortable and sure that your child isn't in danger of suffocating, you cannot be confident and sure that your child isn't in danger of dying of SIDS - so why wouldn't you take all of the precautions? Even if you are tired - I just don't see how a full nights sleep is worth the risk. 

The research has showed for some time that there is a connection between safe sleep recommendations and SIDS. Many of the experts in the field feel that the research coming from Dr. Hannah Kinney in Boston is the most convincing. Her team have found a brain stem irregularity in children who have died from SIDS. The abnormality impairs the brain's ability to use and recycle seratonin. Seratonin is known for the role it plays in regulating moods - but it also helps to regulate essential functions like breathing, heartbeat, temperature blood pressure and arousal. The irregularity might be the reason that the brain is triggered to believe that the airflow is not readily available in certain sleep environments. The theory is that the soft bed covers found in adult beds, the pillows and boppys that are placed in cribs with babies, and just being on the tummy triggers the deadly response in baby's brain stem. Sadly, there is no way to test for this irregularity until after death. So, there is no way to know if your child has it. This is something that Dr. Kinney and her team are working on. First Candle and other organizations support her research (and other reputable research in the field as well). We hope that someday soon there will be a test to detect this irregularity in newborns.

You know that babies die of SIDS. You know it because this is how we lost Maxie. Maybe you think your baby is safer because you love them so much. If love could have protected a child's life, I promise you - Max would still be here. Our love for him runs deep into the core of the earth and completely took over our lives from the moment he was born. He was loved and cared for and adored - and he still died. I KNOW that whatever decisions you make regarding your child are made with love. I don't want to be the bad guy, I just want to make sure you have all of the facts.

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