Saturday, July 02, 2011

3297 SIDS

Saturday, July 2. 2011

I shot an arrow into the air. It's still going - everywhere!
-- L. Long --


The previous post got me thinking about SIDS. About how "they" insist that babies must be put down to sleep on their backs, never on their bellies. The Wikipedia article is interesting. There are many many advantages to putting babies down on their bellies, including that babies who have "bubbles" are more comfortable (Nugget is much happier on her belly), their craniums develop more evenly, and they develop physical and social skills faster than back-sleeping babies. The ONLY advantage to back-sleeping is that it has reduced the incidence of SIDS (and, by the way, they still don't know what exactly goes wrong in SIDS) by like 50%.

What IS the incidence of SIDS? It's fewer than 1 in 1,000! Fewer! (Actually it's .73 per 1,000, which is 1 in 1370.) So if back-sleeping reduces it by 50%, that means that 2,738 babies will be developmentally delayed to save one baby and lose one baby.

(Well, "delayed" might be changed. "They" are considering pushing back the developmental guidelines so it won't be considered a delay any more. Sheesh. There's a name for that kind of thinking....)

Also there's a list of risk factors (from Wikipedia) that nobody ever mentions.

Pre-natal risks

  • teenage mother (SIDS rates decrease with increasing maternal age)
  • lower maternal education (SIDS rates decrease with increasing years of schooling)
  • lack of prenatal care (SIDS rates increase with increasing delay in starting pre-natal care)
  • exposure to nicotine by maternal smoking (SIDS rates are higher for infants of mothers who smoke during pregnancy)

Post-natal risks

  • mold (can cause bleeding lungs plus a variety of other uncommon conditions leading to a misdiagnosis and death). It is often misdiagnosed as a virus, flu, and/or asthma-like conditions.
  • low birth weight (in the US from 1995-1998 the rate for 1000-1499 g was 2.89/1000 and for 3500-3999 g it was 0.51/1000)
  • exposure to tobacco smoke
  • prone sleep position (lying on the stomach)
  • not breastfeeding
  • elevated or reduced room temperature
  • excess bedding, clothing, soft sleep surface and stuffed animals
  • co-sleeping with parents or other siblings may increase risk for SIDS, but the mechanism remains unclear
  • infant's age (incidence rises from zero at birth, is highest from two to four months, and declines towards zero at one year)
  • premature birth (increases risk of SIDS death by about 4 times. In 1995-1998 the US SIDS rate for 37–39 weeks of gestation was 0.73/1000; The SIDS rate for 28–31 weeks of gestation was 2.39/1000)
  • anemia [NB: per item 6 in the list of epidemiologic characteristics ..., extent of anemia cannot be evaluated at autopsy because "total hemoglobin can only be measured in living infants.]

Nugget and her parents don't have a single one of the long list of risk factors. In fact, in age, education, and environmental conditions, they reduce the danger significantly.

Ok. So they tell you that you must put your baby on his/her back. If you point out that the risk to Nugget is so low as to be almost non-existing, they'll respond, yeah, and what if your baby is that one in a thousand. Huh? What then? Huh? Huh?

Sigh. Guilt trip.

Let's apply that thinking to other issues. Let's be Mr. Spock instead of Dr. Spock.

The incidence of fatal automobile accidents among drivers younger than 35 is higher than the SIDS incidence. Much higher. Much much higher. Therefore NO ONE under the age of 35 should be allowed to drive.

What's wrong with that logic? How is it not the same thing? Oh, I forgot. There's no one to send on a guilt trip because they didn't listen to us.


Becs said...

I knew a woman who was so fanatical about keeping the baby on its back that the kid grew up with a flat head. I mean, the back of the kid's head was flat. It looked freakish.

little red said...

Haven't you heard? The world operates on emotional control and reactions these days. Logic and reason don't play a role in anything anymore. It's actually quite sickening. Especially when you use logic to make a perfectly good point and someone disputes it with an emotional excuse.