Tuesday, June 17, 2014

SIDS (Safe Sleep)

SIDS (Safe Sleep) - This publication is supported by University of Michigan Health System, and was updated in 2005. But the date is irrelevant because the advice hasn't changed regarding this one thing:
Do not put soft materials like pillows, comforters, sheepskins or stuffed animals in bed with your baby.
You may have already heard to avoid soft pillows, comforters, and stuffed animals, but perhaps the warning about sheepskin is new to you. That might seem odd. Sheepskin? Really? I mean, why?

Well, I'd be asking the same questions about the other items as well, because do we really know why we are supposed to avoid those either? Did your first thought go to "suffocation hazard"? Because suffocation is NOT SIDS. That's a whole other ball game.

It turns out, all should be avoided (except the stuffed animals, really) for the same exact reason. All allow toxic gas generation when slept on (and/or soiled in some manner, leading to fungus growth inside). Specifically in regards to sheepskin, which are used by LOTS of natural parenting families as a "safe" place to lay their babies, the toxic gas in question is arsine, produced due to the high amounts of arsenic found naturally in the skin and wool of sheep.

Over the last decade, I've seen wool and sheepskin padding sold specifically for babies. Babies should NOT sleep on these products. The absolute safest items under baby are the following:
  1. A firm mattress,
  2. covered with a BabeSafe mattress cover,
  3. and a simple cotton fitted sheet, with a 100% cotton flannel/towel in between, just for YOUR peace of mind (because the baby couldn't care less).
  4. Repeat 1-3.