Thursday, March 1, 2007

The truth about SIDS

Those astute or concerned readers will have noticed that recently, a new study on SIDS has been released that link a brain defect with the cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It was because of this article that I researched and wrote the following article on SIDS.

It was a hot topic in my mom’s group; so much in fact that I almost lost a few friends over it. I had no idea it would be so controversial. I still stand by my opinion and even when presented with other ideas and research, have not found any of it to be as convincing as the book I read called “The Cot Death Cover-Up” by Jim Sprott.

Here is a (long) excerpt from the letter I wrote to my mom friends:

…Before I divulge the gist of the book, let me share some interesting facts about SIDS that you may not know.
We are told before our babies are born to put them on their back so they don’t suffocate and die of SIDS. Oh, and don’t smoke cause that will increase the risk. That’s about as much as we’re told. There are SO many other known facts about SIDS that the SIDS alliance itself has posted on it’s website, but aren’t made common knowledge.

Here are just a FEW of the facts that if you think about, don’t make sense when combined with this recent brain defect research (or any medical condition, for that matter):
  • The risk of SIDS rise from one baby in a family to the next, increasingly higher with each child (so for example, 3rd children are much more likely to die than the first born.)
  • SIDS is much more common in winter
  • SIDS happens more frequently when children are over-dressed (too warm)
  • SIDS is much more common with single parents
  • SIDS rarely kills babies under one month of age
  • SIDS is more common with colored minority population, including African Americans (whereas the recent research says it may not apply to them)

Now, if this recent theory were true, none of these points make sense. If it was truly genetic and medical, why on earth is it more common for single parents? Or more common in the winter? Would being too warm suddenly make you get this disease? Why would all 2nd, 3rd, or 4th children have the defect more often than first-born children? Why would this disease wait to kick in for a month? It makes no sense.

As I’m sure most of you know, SIDS is given as a diagnosis when there is NO other evidence or reason for death. Right there this rules out suffocation because if someone suffocates, an autopsy can reveal this. So right there we are already misled by most of what we hear (take away all blankets, animals, bumpers, sleep on a hard mattress, etc so your baby won’t suffocate and die of SIDS! How many times have you heard this?) SIDS is not suffocation. And I would argue that it’s not a medical condition, either. The suffocation theory also doesn’t work with most of the points above.

So what causes SIDS, you ask? While the SIDS alliance claims there is no known reason, I believe there is and if you spend some time looking into it, I believe you will agree.

I won’t go into it too much here, but I will put forth the idea and let you explore it on your own. There is TONS of research and proven evidence that says that SIDS is caused by toxic gases that are given off by the baby’s mattress. If you’ve heard of this theory and also heard that it was “supposedly” disproved, I beg you to look into that deeper. It has never been disproved.

Quickly, here are a few facts. A New Zealand study studied 100,000 babies (a LOT more than this current study did) that slept on wrapped mattresses (so no gases could get through). NONE of them died. If 7 out of 10,000 babies die of SIDS, then at least 70 babies should have died in this study. NONE did. That is significant. And that is just the beginning.

Here’s the short theory: SIDS is caused by gaseous poisoning (three specific gases). These gases are commonly found in mattresses and become toxic when they react with common household fungi.

Here’s the longer one (for those more scientific minds): SIDS is caused by gaseous poisoning, the gases being phosphine, arsine and stibine. These toxic gases can be generated from the mattress on which the baby sleeps. The gases are formed by the action of common household fungi (e.g. Scopulariopsis brevicaulis) on compounds or (respectively) the elements phosphorus, arsenic and antimony within the mattress.

If you think about that cause and apply it to the points above (and ALL of the facts they know about SIDS), every single one plays out.

  • The risk increases with each child because parents commonly reuse mattresses from one child to the next. The older the mattress, the more fungus has been established in the mattress from sweat, spit up, urine, etc. (even the waterproof ones)
  • Babies are more bundled up in winter, and therefore sweat more. This would cause the fungus to build up more and therefore react quicker with the gases.
  • See number 2.
  • Single parents are much more likely to buy used mattresses because of finances
  • 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 cot 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.
  • Minority populations are more likely to use second hand items.
  • The reason “back to sleep” has helped is because gases are heavier than air. Gases are more likely to accumulate near the surface of the mattress and even under the mattress (near the floor) When a baby sleeps on their stomachs, if there are gases present, their mouths are much closer to the gases then if they’re on their backs. This is why side sleeping didn’t degrease the risk, either.

How do you prevent SIDS? Wrap your mattresses. You can buy a mattress wrap for $25. They are not only sold by the guy who did this research, so he’s not just trying to make a buck. Oh, and you might be asking why this research isn’t well known or on the news? Well, that’s a whole other email, but the long and the short of is that the SIDS alliance is a multi-million dollar company that would lose all its’ funding once a solution (especially this cheap) was found. Secondly, it is the government that requires flame-retardants be put in all mattresses. These poisonous gases are mainly present because of these flame-retardants. Can you imagine the lawsuits that would ensue if the public found out it was a government mandated chemical that was killing their children? It makes sense why this research has been denied and kept “hidden” for all this time.

Without making this any longer, I’ll just tell all you moms that I was very skeptical about this when I first read it. I thought of all the questions there were and wrote them down. Then I emailed the man who wrote this book and helped come up with this theory. Not only did he write me back, he wrote me back several times and answered all my questions, as well as gave case by case proof of why the evidence out there supposedly disproving this theory was false. After these emails and reading his book, I’m completely convinced of this theory. My baby sleeps on a wrapped mattress, on her tummy, and I sleep well at night.

Here’s the website: and
Here’s where you can buy the book (HIGHLY recommended) :
Here’s just one of many sites you can buy the covers from:

Don’t take my word for it. Research it yourself, but don’t stop on the surface level. I found many persuasive arguments against this theory that had I stopped there, I wouldn’t have believed it. Most importantly, read the book before you make your final judgment call. It’s amazing to me how many mom’s fervently disagreed without reading one page.

Do it for yourself, your sanity, and mostly, do it for your baby.


Joshua and Tara said...

Thank you for this blog! My best friend lost her baby to SIDS 3 years ago and I never have believed that babies just die for no reason. I started researching and found this theory to support all of the risk factors for SIDS also. Keep spreading the word!

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