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Eradicating SIDS

For last week’s poll, I asked when
you first began putting anything “extra” –
blankets, stuffed animals, and so forth – into baby’s
crib. Fully half of you waited at least a year, while the rest of
you either had the crib filled from birth or waited about six

We fell on the more cautious end of the scale – I think
Maddie was a good nine months before we began adding a blanket into
her crib. Up until that point, she slept in one of those sleep
sacks every night – on of the best inventions ever, in my
opinion. But right around nine months I realized that 1) it
wasn’t so much a sack anymore – Maddie’s feet
were stretching out the bottom of the garment, rather than allowing
it to hang loose like a blanket; and 2) since Maddie was pulling
herself up to standing, especially in the crib, it was only a
matter of time before she tried to walk in it, tripped, fell, and
had a traumatic moment. So we nervously introduced the blanket. And
to be honest, she’d been sleeping under the blanket for a
couple months before that during nap times – just never the
full night.

This isn’t an article giving you all
the info on SIDS; for that, you can read up in your favorite
parenting book, like Sears’ href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=ur2&tag=1mother2anoth-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&path=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0316778001%2Fqid%3D1139195980%2Fsr%3D2-1%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_b_2_1%3Fs%3Dbooks%26v%3Dglance%26n%3D283155">
The Baby Book
or go to a website like target="_blank" href="http://www.sids.org">The American SIDS
. But SIDS has been on my mind for a couple weeks
now: since my husband brought a recent article to my attention, in
fact. There’s been a new medical discovery that’s so
amazing, I had to share it with you.

A recent study financed by the US National Institute of Child
Health and Human Development has found that SIDS may be the result
of a brain defect. According to these results, victims of SIDS had
an abnormality in their brains that kept them from realizing they
weren’t getting enough oxygen. The hope is that in the
future, we’ll be able to scan for babies with this
abnormality – perhaps even in the womb – and recognize
those that will be at risk for SIDS. Here’s a target="_blank"
link to the article I mentioned – it’s well
worth reading.

Does this mean that you can start putting your child to sleep on
his stomach, or go ahead and smoke around your baby? No. The main
reason SIDS has declined so much over the past decade or so is
because of the aggressive “Back to Sleep” campaign,
coupled with better parent education. It does, however, give us
hope for eliminating SIDS completely sometime in the future.

I remember when Maddie was a newborn, and SIDS was never far from
my mind. Our pediatrician had told us the top of the SIDS bell
curve – the age at which most babies died from it – was
from four to six months. As our doctor explained it, babies are
born not sleeping very deeply – remember all those sighs and
mutters and noises you heard all night long? They are also born
unable to roll themselves over or hold their heads up. As they age
and begin to sleep more deeply, there’s that period when
they’re sleeping more soundly, but don’t yet
instinctively push themselves up if they’re not getting
enough air. Hence the four to six month range. I absolutely
remember Maddie hitting six months, and the mini-celebration that
went on in my head as I knew she was statistically out of the
“hot zone”.

But if we can identify the brain anomaly – perhaps even treat
it?! That’s a celebration every expectant parent will make.

My daughter will grow up never experiencing chicken pox, thanks to
the new vaccine. I can’t believe she won’t ever have to
go through that rite of passage.

Can you imagine a time when there’s no SIDS?


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