What is SIDS/Crib Death?
SIDS/crib death is the most common cause of infant death in many western countries. In most cases the baby has been put down to sleep in his or her crib and later found lifeless, with no sign of illness or physical struggle. SIDS/crib death can also occur in other situations which parallel “crib situations” or which are sleeping environments, for example: prams, strollers, car seats, play mats, sofas, and adults’ and children’s beds.
What is the SIDS/Crib Death risk age?
What is the cause of SIDS/Crib Death?
How can SIDS/Crib Death be prevented?
Why do SIDS/Crib Death babies show no symptoms?
What is a "near miss"?
What research has been done into the toxic gas theory for Crib Death/SIDS?
A large amount of research relating to the toxic gas theory has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Every step in the fungal generation of toxic gases from infant bedding has been proven. Mattress-wrapping for crib death / SIDS prevention is supported by wider research than supported the introduction of various items of orthodox advice (including face-up sleeping).
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Didn't the 1998 UK Limerick Report disprove the toxic gas theory for Cot Death/Crib Death?
Didn't the UK CESDI Study find that three babies in Britain died on polythene-wrapped/polyethylene-wrapped mattresses?
Why are recently vaccinated babies and babies with infections at higher risk of SIDS/Crib Death?
What is a "near miss"?Why does the risk of Crib Death/SIDS rise from one baby in a family to the next?
Why do babies of solo parents have a very high SIDS/Crib Death rate?
Why does overheating increase SIDS/Crib Death risk?
Why do more SIDS Deaths/Crib Deaths occur in winter than in summer?
Why does face-up sleeping reduce the risk of SIDS/Crib Death?
Why does bedsharing between adults and babies pose a SIDS/Crib Death risk?
Why do pacifiers (dummies) appear to reduce SIDS/Crib Death risk?
How does the toxic gas theory explain SIDS Deaths/Crib Deaths which occur in adults' arms?
Why do more baby boys than baby girls die of SIDS/Crib Death?
Minor changes in temperature in the crib cause a marked increase in the rate of toxic gas generation. Scottish research has shown that a high thermal score is associated with increased crib death risk; and that a high thermal score poses greater SIDS risk to boys than to girls.
Is SIDS/Crib Death caused by babies re-breathing their exhaled carbon dioxide?
No. All babies exhale a similar amount of carbon dioxide, regardless of whether they are first, second, third or later babies in a family. Accordingly, the statistical finding that the crib death rate rises from one sibling in a family to the next disproves the carbon dioxide theory for the cause of SIDS.
Why aren't there many SIDS Deaths/Crib Deaths among babies less than one month old?
A significant number of babies sleep on new mattresses, and it takes around one month for fungi capable of gas generation to become established in a mattress. However, a baby less than one month old can die of crib death if he or she is placed on a mattress which has recently been used by another baby and is already capable of generating toxic gas.
Why do relatively few SIDS Deaths/Crib Deaths occur among babies over six months old?
An older baby is more able to respond physically to the initial distress which is caused the exposure to the toxic gases. An older baby experiencing this distress (e.g. the initial headache which occurs) can take action by flailing around in the crib, throwing off bedding, or sitting or standing up in the crib. This attracts the attention of adults. It also disperses gases from around the baby; or physically removes the baby from the gases (if the baby sits or stands up in the crib), since these gases are more dense than air.
Why is the SIDS/Crib Death rate higher for twins than for singleton babies?
First, if the twins are not the mother’s first pregnancy, often the mother already has a crib mattress. Secondly, many twins sleep in the same crib when they are very young babies, but at some point while still within the crib death risk age are separated so that they are sleeping in separate cribs. Both of these situations require a second mattress to be obtained. As a consequence, it often occurs that one twin sleeps on a previously used mattress, while the other twin sleeps on a new mattress. This has the result that the SIDS rate among twins is significantly higher than among singleton babies; also it is statistically much more likely that one twin will die of SIDS than the other. The twin sleeping on the re-used mattress is at around double the crib death risk of the twin sleeping on the new mattress.
Given that millions of unwrapped mattresses contain phosphorus, arsenic or antimony; P, As or Sb, respectively; why aren’t there more SIDS Deaths/Crib Deaths?
In order for SIDS/crib death to occur, the following circumstances must co-exist in the baby’s crib:
- The mattress (or other bedding) beneath the baby must contain phosphorus, arsenic or antimony.
- The condition of the mattress or bedding must support fungal growth (for example, be damp with sweat or contaminated with urine).
- Fungi capable of generating gases from phosphorus, arsenic and antimony must be growing in the mattress or bedding.
- The fungi must be sufficiently active to produce a lethal dose of the gases.
- The baby must ingest a lethal dose (for example, because the baby is sleeping face down, or because there is insufficient ventilation around the baby to disperse the gases).
It is uncommon for all these circumstances to co-exist in a baby’s crib. Many babies are exposed to sub-lethal doses of toxic gas in their cribs, and no immediate harm results. Occasionally, however, all the above circumstances do co-exist and a SIDS death/crib death ensues.