Tuesday, November 27, 2007

NEW ZEALAND ASTHMA RESEARCH

23 November 2007MEDIA RELEASE FOR PUBLICATION

NEW ZEALAND ASTHMA RESEARCH: CONCLUSIONS OUT-OF-DATE AND MISLEADING FOR PARENTS

New Zealand asthma research published this month in the journal "Clinical and Experimental Allergy" is a further reason for babies' mattresses to be wrapped in specified plastic, says cot death prevention expert Dr Jim Sprott OBE.

An Auckland University research team has found that sleeping on a used mattress in the first year of life is a risk factor for asthma.(1) The researchers stated that their finding "could be related to the observation that used mattresses have higher levels of [dust] mite allergen."

"The researchers are treating their finding as new, but their conclusions are already out-of-date", stated Dr Sprott. "Canadian asthma research reported in New Zealand in 1998 showed that encasing a mattress in an impermeable plastic cover prevents exposure to house dust mites, so it stands to reason that unwrapped cot mattresses are associated with elevated asthma risk."

In the Canadian research mattresses were encased in vapour-impermeable covers. Using sensitive assays, investigators found that encasement of the mattress significantly reduced house dust mite allergen in beds.(2) Noting that children are most likely to become sensitised to allergens during the first year of life, researcher Dr Allan Becker stated that mattresses should be encased from the time of a baby's birth to minimise exposure to allergens and subsequent sensitisation.

Mattress-wrapping is widely practised in New Zealand for the elimination of cot death risk.(3) "Quite obviously, babies' mattresses should also be wrapped to reduce asthma risk," stated Dr Sprott. "In view of the longstanding Canadian research finding, the Auckland University researchers clearly should take the logical next step and tell parents to wrap babies' mattresses to reduce asthma risk."

Dr Sprott noted that the Auckland University researchers reported a link between daycare attendance and the likelihood of respiratory tract infections. "US research has also shown, again years ago, that cot death risk is much higher in daycares than in babies' own homes," stated Dr Sprott.(4) "The reason for both findings is the multiple re-use of unwrapped mattresses in daycares. So once again the Auckland University researchers should take the logical next step and tell parents to wrap mattresses for avoidance of microbial infections."

"Mattress-wrapping is also essential for prevention of head flattening in babies," stated Dr Sprott. "If a baby is sleeping on a mattress wrapped in accordance with the cot death prevention protocol, the baby does not need to sleep face-up, and so the risk of head flattening can be eliminated by use of the side-sleeping position."

"Paediatric advice on the infant sleeping environment needs urgent revision," stated Dr Sprott. "Parents are being denied full information. Mattress-wrapping in accordance with the cot death prevention protocol eliminates cot death risk, and head flattening can also be avoided; mattress-wrapping also reduces asthma risk and risk of microbial infection.

"So why don't the New Zealand Ministry of Health, Plunket Society and the Auckland University researchers tell parents to wrap babies' mattresses?"

Notes:
1. Mitchell, E A, et al, Risk factors for asthma at 3.5 and 7 years of age, Clinical & Experimental Allergy 2000; 37 (12), 1747–1755.
2. New Zealand GP (11 February 1998), page 20. Chan-Yueng, M, et al, A Randomized Controlled Study on the Effectiveness of a Multifaceted Intervention Program in the Primary Prevention of Asthma in High-Risk Infants, Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2000; 154: 657-663. Allergen levels in beds where families had encased the mattress were 0.22 microgram of allergen per gram of dust, as compared with 1.18 microgram of allergen per gram of dust for families who did not encase the mattress.
3. Since 1995 an estimated 165,000 New Zealand babies have slept on mattresses wrapped for cot death prevention. During that time the New Zealand nationwide cot death rate has fallen by 67% and the Pakeha (majority NZ European) ethnic rate has fallen by around 84%. There has been no reported cot death among babies sleeping on "wrapped mattresses". Mattress-wrapping statistic based on two research studies which reported the incidence of mattress-wrapping in New Zealand: NZ Med J 2000; 113: 8-10; NZ Med J 2000; 113: 326-327.
4. Moon, R Y, et al, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Child Care Settings, Pediatrics 2000; 106: 295-300.

Media release issued by:
T J Sprott OBE MSc PhD FNZIC
Consulting chemist & forensic scientist
10 Combes Road
RemueraAuckland
1050NEW ZEALAND
Phone/fax: +64-9-5231150e-mail: sprott@iconz.co.nz
website: http://www.cotlife2000.co.nz/

To purchase a mattress cover for your baby's mattress, please visit Eve's Best.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Simplicity Crib Recall

**These types of deaths are not SIDS, but very related nonetheless. Please make sure your crib is not part of this recall.

NEWS from CPSC
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20207

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2007
Release #07-307

Simplicity's Recall Hotline: (888) 593-9274
CPSC Hotline: (800) 638-2772CPSC
Media Contact: (301) 504-7908
Simplicity Media Contact: (713) 301-0733

About 1 Million Simplicity Cribs Recalled Due To Failures Resulting inInfant Deaths

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) isannouncing today a voluntary recall with Simplicity Inc., of Reading,Pa., of about 1 million cribs. The drop-side can detach from the crib,which can create a dangerous gap and lead to the entrapment andsuffocation of infants. CPSC is aware of two deaths in Simplicitymanufactured cribs with older style hardware, including a 9-month-oldchild and a 6-month-old child, where the drop-side was installed upsidedown. CPSC is also aware of seven infant entrapments and 55 incidents inthese cribs.

CPSC is also investigating the death of a 1-year-old child in aSimplicity crib with newer style hardware, in which the drop-side wasinstalled upside down. CPSC is warning parents and caregivers to checkall Simplicity cribs to make sure the drop-side is installed right sideup.
The drop-side failures result from both the hardware and crib design,which allow consumers to unintentionally install the drop-side upsidedown. This, in turn, can weaken the hardware and cause the drop-side todetach from the crib. When the drop-side detaches, it creates a gap inwhich infants can become entrapped.

CPSC is also aware of two incidents that occurred when the drop-side wascorrectly installed with older style hardware, though the upside downinstallation greatly increases the risk of failure.

The recalled Simplicity crib models include: Aspen 3 in 1, Aspen 4 in 1,Nursery-in-a-Box, Crib N Changer Combo, Chelsea and Pooh 4 in 1. Therecall also involves the following Simplicity cribs that used the Graco logo: Aspen 3 in 1, Ultra 3 in 1, Ultra 4 in1, Ultra 5 in 1, Whitney and the Trio.

The recalled cribs have one of the following model numbers, which can befound on the envelope attached to the mattress support and on the labelattached to the headboard: 4600, 4605, 4705, 5000, 8000, 8324, 8800,8740, 8910, 8994, 8050, 8750, 8760, and 8996.

The cribs, which were made in China, were sold in department stores,children's stores and mass merchandisers nationwide from January 1998through May 2007 for between $100 and $300.
As an immediate precaution, consumers should check to see if thedrop-side is installed right side up. To do this, check to see that theslightly rounded rail with the decorative groove is installed at the topand the plain rail is on the bottom. Next, consumers should make surethe drop-side is securely attached to the tracks in all four corners.

If the drop-side is installed upside down or not securely attached,consumers should stop using the crib immediately. Incorrect installationcan cause permanent damage to the hardware and re-installing thedrop-side using the same hardware is unsafe.

Consumers should check to see if their crib contains the recalledhardware. Recalled hardware has a flexible tab at the bottom of thelower tracks and the top of the lower tracks are open. Newer hardware,which is not subject to the recall, has the flexible tab located at thetop of the lower track, and a permanent stop at the bottom.

Consumers who have a crib with older style hardware can receive a freerepair by immediately contacting Simplicity toll-free at (888) 593-9274between 8:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday, between 8 a.m.and 5 p.m. ET on Friday, and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET on Saturday,or by visiting the firm's Web site at http://www.simplicityforchildren.com/

Consumers who have a crib with newer style hardware and have installedthe drop-side upside down or have broken hardware, should also contactSimplicity immediately.

Consumer Action Guide: Style of Crib Hardware - Consumer Response
Older Hardware - Recalled: Consumers should contact Simplicityimmediately for a free repair.
Newer Hardware - Warning: Consumers should check crib'sdrop-side to ensure it is assembled right side up and inspect forbroken hardware.

To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures showing properand improper drop-side installations, and older and newer hardware,please go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml07/07307.html

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from morethan 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction.Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidentscost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committedto protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire,electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. TheCPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys,cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals -contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate ofdeaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC'shotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, orvisit CPSC's web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC emailsubscription list, please go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. Consumerscan obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site athttp://www.cpsc.gov/.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

How Should My Baby Sleep to Prevent SIDS?

If you read enough information about SIDS prevention, you will get the idea that we are trying to save babies by keeping them as uncomfortable as possible! Surely, if we keep babies cold ("don't overheat") and lay them flat on their backs (Back to Sleep Campaign) they will never fall into a deep sleep, and will never NOT wake up if they aren't in a deep sleep. Right? Oh, I forgot; we are also supposed to lay them on a rock hard mattress! That should help.

Seriously, what ARE we supposed to do? I remember when my son was a newborn and we could not get him to sleep. It turns out that he was a high needs baby who would have been labeled "colicky" by most parents who like labeling their children. Nevertheless, it was a nightmare trying to get him to sleep. I discovered that the only way he would sleep well (or at all) was if we placed him on his stomach. Yes, I worried over this. I got on the internet. I asked the doctor, who told me incorrectly that because he could move his head well, was a good size, and apparently healthy, that he would be fine sleeping on his stomach. But I never felt okay about it until he was over a year, and by that time he was sleeping on his back.

Is it ever okay to put a baby on his tummy to sleep? Believe it or not, it is. But only when the baby's mattress is wrapped with a BabeSafe mattress cover. This product is a lifesaver for many parents just like me who have picky babies that want to be on their tummies!

The other suggestion, "keep your baby cool to prevent overheating," is a good one. I don't know about you, but I don't like being cold! I certainly don't like being cold while trying to sleep. This suggestion leads parents to believe that 1) swaddling is not okay, and 2) overheating causes SIDS. First, swaddling your baby is one of the best ways to make her feel secure. You can swaddle her with thin blankets during the summer, and on especially warm days, swaddle her with just a diaper on. During the winter, make your baby comfortable according to the temperature in your house, and close the heat vent in his room. The ROOM should be cool- NOT the baby. You will never overheat your baby if he is dressed warmly and the room is cool. A cool room is the best room for anyone to sleep, and the same goes for babies.

Second, overheating does not cause SIDS. It is a risk factor, but focusing too much on risk factors keeps focus off the big picture. The big picture is that no one seems to know (after decades of research and billions of dollars spent) exactly what causes SIDS. And the ones who offer a pretty fair assessment, like Jim Sprott and Barry Richardson, are ignored.

I'm not going to tell you it's okay to start smoking, you should stop breastfeeding, it's okay to throw a blanket over your baby, or that your baby should sleep on his tummy. What I am going to tell you is that the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT SIDS is to put a BabeSafe mattress cover on his mattress. Based on the toxic gas explanation for crib death, the mattress cover prevents toxic gases that are coming from the mattress from reaching your baby. With a BabeSafe mattress cover, your baby CAN sleep on his tummy, and you can sleep at night knowing that he is safe and comfortable. And that is how EVERY baby should sleep!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

April is Autism Awareness Month

It might seem odd that I would mention Autism Awareness Month on a SIDS Prevention blog, but if you examine the two closely, you will see that they are very much related. I am not a scientist. I am not an expert. I do, however, have common sense and my intelligence cannot be bought.

There are horrible, nasty, things going on in our environment which are affecting every drop of blood in our body, every millimeter of bone in our limbs, and the medical community is way behind the times when it comes to admitting what's going on. Just as global warming has divided the nation, so have we divided when it comes to the damage we are doing to ourselves by our very own hands. Some prefer to stick their heads in the sand, or look the other way- and they aren't the ones necessarily causing the trouble. They are just the ones who want to pretend that everything is okay, our leaders are protecting us, and money doesn't make the world go 'round.

But we all know that is not true. Whether from vaccinations, pesticides, nuclear wastes, plastics, genetically modified food, prescription drugs, or synthetic chemicals- we are ALL affected in one way or another. SIDS. Autism. Asthma. Diabetes. Cancer. The statistics are soaring, in younger and younger children. Until we all stop looking the other way and start finding the causes, it is only going to get worse.

We hear on the news every night about the energy crisis, the cost of gas, and what will happen when the petroleum industry is replaced by alternative energy. Don't worry. Our government is already creating entirely new industries by allowing harmful carcinogens and toxins in ours and our children's environments which create new jobs and keep the flow of money in our economy. Cancer is a multi-billion dollar industry by itself. Everybody complains about Halliburton, as they hand over their "find a cure" dollars to health organizations and have no idea what's going on with their money. Yes, it does make the world go 'round...