Monday, April 10, 2006

FAQ about SIDS and the Toxic Gas Theory

Q. Wasn't the toxic gas theory dispelled by the Limerick Committee?
A. Not at all. You might find information on SIDS organizations regarding the Limerick Committee, and how the Limerick Report disputed the toxic gas theory. This information is incorrect. While media publicity reported one thing, the truth is a little more complicated if you don't understand the toxic gas theory. People who don't WANT to understand it, will accept what the media promotes and look no further. You can learn the truth about the toxic gas theory and the Limerick Committee.

Q. Why can organizations provide incorrect information?
A. The internet has its pros and cons. Not everything you read on-line is going to be true. I have read so much conflicting information on the internet, it is scary. The SIDS industry is only one small part of the problem. There is conflicting information on just about anything health related, so you really have to do your research. In regards to SIDS, if you evaluate the information available, you will find the SIDS organizations know very little when it comes to SIDS. For instance, they will tell you that you should put your baby to sleep on his back, but have no idea why. Ironically, back sleeping was proposed by Barry Richardson in the UK when he first discovered the toxic gas theory. It was so successful there in regards to SIDS prevention, that the US adopted the same practices. But you will find no mention of WHY on most SIDS organizations. (And many of these organizations do not even acknowledge the existence of the toxic gas theory.) One thing that happens frequently is that people will read something on a site, and instead of checking sources, will repeat that information, sometimes even copying the same information and using it on their own site. Before you know it, EVERYONE is saying the same thing- even though it is 100% incorrect. Similarly, studies can be taken out of context and reported incorrectly, since most reporters realize that people will not check sources, and most people do not know how to read the statistical information provided with scientific studies.

Q. The toxic gas theory seems a little far-fetched. Why should I "buy" it?
A. Suppose for an instant that Dr. Sprott and Barry Richardson were 100% wrong about the toxic gas theory. Pretend it doesn't matter. What DOES matter is that their solution (mattress wrapping) has proven its success since NO babies have died of SIDS on mattresses wrapped with a BabeSafe mattress cover. It doesn't really matter WHY the mattress cover works- it just does. You don't have to believe in any theory to accept those statistics. Dr. Sprott has worked on New Zealand SIDS prevention for decades, and has greatly slashed the SIDS rates there. The only babies dying in New Zealand are babies who do not sleep on wrapped mattresses.

Q. Does this mean that there is only one cause of SIDS?
A. While many parents who have lost a baby to SIDS do not want to believe the toxic gas theory and mattress wrapping, statistics are showing that there can not be another cause of SIDS. This does not mean that EVERY autopsy was performed with 100% accuracy; a medical problem can certainly be missed. Similarly, some vaccine deaths are incorrectly labeled SIDS. Mattress wrapping will not prevent vaccine deaths. BUT, it is important to note that NO babies have died AT ALL on wrapped mattresses where SIDS was diagnosed. While there may have been deaths with a known cause, NONE have been labeled SIDS. What this means is that all unknown deaths are prevented with a BabeSafe mattress cover. The only reason this can be possible is if there is only one cause of SIDS- toxic gases. In order for another cause of SIDS to be possible, at least one of the hundreds of thousands of babies* who have slept on wrapped mattresses would have to have had a mysterious undiagnosed medical problem which resulted in SIDS. It simply has not happened.

Q. Why isn't the toxic gas theory accepted by mainstream doctors, media and SIDS organizations?
A. Money. As I've stated before, any organization set up for the sole purpose to discover or cure something in the health industry is eventually clouded by money. They need it to pay researchers. They need it to provide information, for advertisers, for administrative costs. THEY NEED MONEY. There is no money in the cure. There is only money in the search for the cure. Visit the American Cancer Society website. How much of their site is spent on prevention? Very little. How much do you know about cancer aside from chemotherapy and radiation? Did you know that people are naturally curing their cancers? Why isn't THIS information all over the news? Without answering that, I can tell you- ALL industries are the same, whether it's cancer, arthritis, MS, or SIDS. Once an industry is established, it's all about the money.

Unfortunately, as much as doctors want to help, they are the last to find out about things. Unless they spend their "spare" time doing research and staying updated on medical topics, they rely on the AMA or AAP for any new information. They are too busy seeing sick children, and the AAP is simply a band of doctors who support one another, disseminating information to the community. As a matter of fact, you can see what the AAP says about SIDS here: American Academy of Pediatrics' Policy Statement on SIDS While they do use research from the UK and New Zealand in their policy, it is interesting to note that they do not mention the most successful campaign in New Zealand- the mattress wrapping campaign. I don't know why this is. I'm not sure what they are waiting for.

If you want to learn more about The Cot Death Cover-up? I suggest you get the book! It explains in more detail, and lays out the timeline, of what has happened in the SIDS industry.

Q. I have read that some bedding is dangerous for babies as well; why is this?
A. Most people are under the impression that babies' comforters are dangerous because of the suffocation risk. This is not so. It is dangerous because comforters are filled with polyester filling, which contains both phosphorus and antimony. Because, typically, parents don't wash their cute comforters frequently from fear of fading, a fungus will grow inside the comforter. When this fungus consumes the phosphorus and antimony, the toxic gas is produced and released. The more the comforter is used without laundering, the more dangerous it becomes. Baby's body heat, coupled with urine, drool, and sweat coming from the baby, creates a deadly blanket even if you can't tell from the outside. Once the comforter is laundered, the fungus is diminished, and it must re-grow during use once again. The following baby bedding should be avoided:
All polyester-filled quilts/comforters, pillows, waterproof mattress pads, quilted mattress pads, sheepskin, sheep fleece underlay, wool puddle pads, polyester fleece or acrylic blankets, and anything you don't know the contents of. Only 100% cotton should be used underneath baby.

If you are quickly catching on, you probably realize that infant swing padding, car seat padding, and other baby "cushions" are made of the same elements. These padded items should be laundered frequently as well. Use them infrequently. Do not allow your baby to sleep for long periods in his infant car seat/carrier. The more it is used, the more fungus will grow inside the padding. I have heard of babies dying while lying in their infant car seat. This is one item that you will want to purchase new, and if you can't, you should launder the padding before use.

Q.When is a baby most at risk for SIDS?
A. Most SIDS deaths occur between 2-4 months, and it happens less frequently in babies over 6 months old. You are not considered "safe" until the baby is at least 12 months old. The older and bigger a baby gets, the more his body will be able to "handle" the toxic gases. A toddler sleeping in an unwrapped crib will not die from SIDS, but she can be affected by the gases and respond with a headache. The younger and smaller a baby is, the more susceptible she is to the toxic gases. Consider the canaries that miners used to send into the mines to see if it was safe for them. While the mattress may be safe for adults, it may not be safe for a baby.

Q. Why do some mattresses kill babies and others don't?
A. First, it is important to note that the most dangerous mattresses are used mattresses. Of course, if you cover any mattress with a BabeSafe mattress cover, it doesn't matter how old it is. What goes on inside a mattress varies greatly, depending on the baby sleeping on it, how many babies have slept on it, whether those babies had frequent fevers or elevated body temperatures, how often a baby sleeps on it, and *I* believe, the conditions where the mattress was manufactured and stored. This is purely speculation and not from any study or research. If you have ever lived in a humid climate, you know the difference between 100% humidity and 50% humidity. It is even more apparent if you have a basement with a de-humidifier that needs to be emptied every day. If you live in a house without air conditioning in the humid summer months, you know that feeling. It's sticky and "wet." You can just feel it in the air. What if mattresses are manufactured in humid conditions and brand new mattresses are sewn together with dampness being enclosed with the insides of the mattresses? Maybe they have climate controlled plants, and climate controlled warehouses...I don't know. But all of these things need to be considered. I have heard stories of babies dying the first night they slept on their new crib mattress. While it is more likely for a baby to die on used mattresses, it is possible for a baby to die on a new mattress. The problem is that there is no litmus test for the arsines, phosphines, and stibines, and if they are present, the levels at which they are present. What we DO know is that a BabeSafe mattress cover wrapped around a baby's mattress keeps the gases from getting into the baby's air space, thereby preventing SIDS.

Q. Why should I believe your information?
A. It used to be much harder to answer this question, but as time goes on, more doctors are agreeing with the toxic gas theory. Google it. While you will find all those people misquoting and abusing the Limerick Report, you will also find other people (respected doctors) who decided that it makes a lot of sense. The only thing that time proves is that the toxic gas theory is correct. One thing I like to compare it to is the use of vitamin C. If your doctor had a cold, took a vitamin C and decided vitamin C is worthless because it didn't do anything for him, he will probably tell you that vitamin C doesn't work. Then you have the doctors who will read everything they can get their hands on about vitamin C, and realize that they need to take it every 1-2 hours in higher doses. These doctors will report a totally different experience with vitamin C. These discrepancies run rampant all over the internet. You should believe me and all the other doctors and scientists who agree with the toxic gas theory because we are like the second doctors. We did not scratch the surface of SIDS prevention and find contentment in agreeing with all the SIDS organizations who are still clueless about SIDS. We examined the facts, the statistics, and the common sense of this theory and realized there was more to it than scientists looking to make a buck. And I hope that you can see that, too!

*According to mattress cover sales worldwide, and allowing for the mattresses or covers to be handed down to a sibling or another baby, it is estimated that over 235,000 babies have slept on mattresses wrapped according to the Cotlife 2000 specifications.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Purpose of SIDS Organizations

Tonight I had nothing new to say about SIDS prevention, so I decided to Google "sids information" and see if anything new was coming out. What I found was rather frightening and sad. Here are some things I noticed:

1. There are TONS of SIDS organizations. Some are started by families of SIDS babies, some simply disseminating information, others asking for donations. Some states have their own organizations, others are national. Some are actual non-profit organizations, and others are just websites trying to help parents out with information.
2. The information is almost always incorrect. Not only are they regurgitating incorrect information regarding the Limerick Committee and the toxic gas theory, they completely ignore the fact that mattress wrapping has been 100% successful in preventing SIDS. They don't even mention it.
3. Instead of acknowledging true prevention techniques and providing prevention measures for lower socioeconomic families, they continue to funnel more money into studies that never seem to pan out.
4. I don't think I read anywhere that African American babies are twice as likely, and Native American babies three times as likely to die from SIDS (I did not look at ALL sites, as I know some do state this. I only looked at 10-15 sites.) Instead of collecting money and doing "research" on babies who have already died, these organizations should be spending the money on SIDS prevention information and reaching the lower socio-economic groups SIDS affects more frequently. Why isn't anyone questioning why these two groups are hit more frequently with SIDS? (The answer is in the higher likelihood to re-use mattresses rather than purchase a new mattress for each baby).
5. If you really sit down and read SIDS stories, you will see many similarities. But the ironic thing is, when parents of SIDS babies want to tell me how wrong I am about what I know, they always have a, "but our situation was different because..." story just for me. For instance, my baby wasn't even in a bed- he was in his car seat...; her mattress was brand new...; the baby slept with me...; co-sleeping IS safer.... If we left the science up to parents of SIDS babies, each and every SIDS death would be unique and we would never find similarities- except, of course, the deaths. I have read story after story of babies found under blankets, babies dying while sleeping with a parent on a sofa, babies dying in their parents' arms. It IS possible to pick up a baby from his crib who is alive, but is actually dying from toxic gases. That baby can die in your arms. Parents who think the toxic gas theory only applies to cribs have not done their research, and they are looking for a reason to discount it so that they can abandon that theory for a more acceptable cause, such as a medical reason (something was wrong with the baby).
6. With so many different organizations accepting "donations" along with our tax money that goes into research, who is in charge of where the money goes and what research is done? How do we know research isn't being duplicated? And who is watching to see that bogus research isn't performed just to keep the money flowing into the researcher's pockets? Why do we continue to funnel money into the research, but we don't funnel money into a proven prevention technique to either prove it or disprove it for good? For instance, that "research" money could be purchasing mattress covers for socioeconomically disadvantaged babies. That is a quick way to prove or disprove the toxic gas theory. Test out the most successful SIDS prevention technique on the groups most likely to be affected by SIDS and you will prove something. It has already been done in New Zealand. Why won't US scientists do it? Perhaps they are scared to "cure" themselves out of jobs?
7. There is a need for SIDS organizations to help parents deal with their loss. But I wonder how well this is being done. When organizations focus on so many things, and more importantly on accepting more donations, how can they fulfill their purpose in helping parents cope- which is practically free, by the way? Those parents are useful for bringing in more money. They keep them in the dark about the truth, and then encourage them to send money, ask their friends for money, and do fundraisers for "the cause." Maybe they are right. Perhaps giving them something to do is easier for them than the truth: that the very organization parents are depending on for SIDS counseling are the same organizations that failed to tell them the truth in the first place. By the way, this is not exclusive to the SIDS community. It is even worse in the cancer industry, where organizations put prevention information deep in their websites, almost impossible to find. And then the information is incomplete and weak.

I wonder what would happen if I were to apply for a SIDS research grant to provide African American and Native American families with BabeSafe mattress covers for 10 years. I wonder what would happen to the SIDS rate in the US. You know, I have actually written to Oprah to get help with doing that. I got no response. I think she is too busy rebuilding houses for Katrina families. But those researchers...they should be eager to find the truth and should jump on that with all the money they've got coming in. You think?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

What you CAN do to Prevent SIDS

Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding does not prevent SIDS. Smoking does not cause SIDS. While breastfeeding and keeping your baby away from second-hand smoke DOES provide a healthier baby, neither has enough impact in SIDS prevention to correlate causation. As a matter of fact, what do you tell the mom who has a breastfed baby who never got vaccinated, was never exposed to cigarette smoke, and always slept on her back, when she wants answers to why her baby died from "SIDS"?

There are a lot of things we do in our homes that jeopardize our babies' health. Normal, every day things that we don't give much thought can make or break the health of our children, and we need to take them more seriously. Here is a list of things that you need to be wary of, the first 2 relevant to SIDS prevention, the remainder relevant to babies' general health concerns.

1. Wrap your baby's mattress with a BabeSafe mattress cover. It is the only product with a 10 year track record of 100% success in SIDS prevention, even with babies sleeping on their stomachs.
2. Use only cotton underneath baby while sleeping. Avoid using waterproof padding, wool pad, sheepskin, etc. Also, do not use polyester or acrylic blankets, quilted blankets, or comforters which are often poly filled. These are not suffocation risks, but unlaundered lead to toxic nerve gases similar to the toxic gases in mattresses.
3. Do not use fabric softener on baby's clothes or bedding.
4. Do not use bleach to clean the baby's room or home environment. Use homemade or environmentally safe cleaning products.
5. Breastfeed and eat nutritiously, as well as take nutritional supplements.
6. Avoid second hand smoke and do not leave your baby with people who smoke, even if it is outside.
7. Do not leave your baby with day care centers or home providers who use mainstream cleaning products. If you have concerns but can not find anyone else to care for your baby, purchase an Airwise air purifier and insist that it remain in the room where your baby spends most of his day. (You can band together with other parents and purchase an Airwise together.)
8. If you choose formula feeding at any point, use distilled water to mix baby's formula.
9. Use safer baby soaps with fewer chemicals and fewer fragrances. Most Americans go way overboard with scents, and it is literally killing us.
10. Do your research on vaccines. Don't just read the literature from the "medical establishment." Take a really good look at the "other side." While you may still decide to vaccinate, you might find yourself selectively vaccinating or delaying some vaccines. I thought I knew everything because I only researched the "pro-vaccine" side. Don't make your decision until you have examined BOTH sides...this is VERY important.

There are generally two groups of people. Those who already know a lot of the above and follow a lot of the advice, and those who think it's all crazy. I will let you guess which group has sick children, children with asthma, children with ADHD or other behavior problems...it's typically the people who don't believe in protecting our children from "harmless" things, but will run to the doctor and fill every prescription handed over by a doctor who has had absolutely no training in anything outside of making diagnoses and writing prescriptions. Unfortunately, there is no prescription for SIDS. The only symptom is death, and it's too late to listen then, isn't it?