Monday, May 08, 2006

SIDS Prevention Products

There are tons of SIDS prevention products on the market. Do they work?

Most frequently seen are sleep sack type "blankets" which are blankets that the babies wear. These are supposed to help prevent SIDS because of the misunderstanding that using blankets leads to SIDS deaths. On the contrary, cotton blankets are perfectly okay for use, especially in regards to SIDS prevention. You should avoid using polyester or polyester filled blankets such as a comforter. The most beneficial part of the sleep sack pictured, the Halo Sleep Sack, is that on the front of the sleep sack is an emblem reminding the caretaker to place the baby on his or her back. While I do not have statistics as to how well these work, if your baby is sleeping on a mattress that is not covered with a BabeSafe mattress cover, the inherent SIDS risk has not been removed, and it doesn't matter what you cover your baby with.

Another more commonly marketed product is a breathing/movement monitor which alarms the parents or caretaker if the baby does neither within about 20 seconds. There are a number of problems with these. First of all, the alarm does go off for no reason. Second, while it might be a great tool for babies suffering from sleep apnea or other medical problems, once a baby is in a state of "SIDS" they cannot be revived. At the point the monitor goes off to alert the parent, it is too late. Do they prevent SIDS? No.

Another product on the market is the Amby Baby Hammock. Interestingly enough, the Amby Hammock was not originally created for SIDS prevention. It has, however, produced interesting results as far as SIDS prevention. With about 25,000 Amby Hammocks sold worldwide, there have been no known cases of SIDS in Amby Hammocks. While Amby officials do not understand fully why this is, they do attribute the success in the fact that it is impossible to place babies on their backs and for babies to turn on their backs in the Amby Hammock. Also, and more importantly, their mattresses have not been treated with fire retardants, a known cause of toxic gases in mattresses. The mattress cover is 100% cotton, eliminating the danger found in mainstream mattress protectors which can also produce toxic gases.

Finally, the most economical and successful product, the BabeSafe mattress cover. Like the Back to Sleep campaign, use of the BabeSafe mattress cover is based on the toxic gas theory. While "Back to Sleep" helps prevent babies from breathing in toxic gases, the BabeSafe mattress cover prevents the gases from getting into the baby's breathing space to begin with. The mattress cover slips over your current baby mattress and comes in six sizes to accommodate various bassinets, co-sleepers and cribs. The success of this product has been astounding, and actually proves scientifically that the toxic gas theory is the single cause of SIDS. This is an important product for ALL families with babies, but especially for families who have babies that do not sleep well on their backs. With the BabeSafe mattress cover, it is perfectly safe to place your baby on his or her tummy to sleep. This is because the toxic gases are not permeating through the cover, allowing baby a gas-free sleeping zone whether he is on his back, side, or stomach. This is difficult for people to accept if they do not believe in or do not want to accept the toxic gas theory. These people still contend that babies should not sleep on their stomachs because SIDS has a medical reason that causes cessation of breathing when babies are placed on their stomachs. If this were true, babies would have died sleeping on their stomachs on a wrapped mattress, but they have not.

When it comes to SIDS prevention, you must do your research to figure out exactly what you are getting when you want to keep your baby safe. Every company is going to tell you the positives, and sometimes they are a stretch. Don't be misled by the hype, and always use your common sense and researching abilities to find out as much as you can before you hand your money over!