Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also referred to as cot death or crib death, is defined as the sudden death of an infant that is unexpected by medical history and remains unexplained even after autopsy.

It is more common in male babies, babies of teenage mothers, babies born to mothers with lower rates of education and babies exposed to maternal smoking in utero. It is more common in premature babies and in formula-fed babies than in breastfed babies. The incidence increases with subsequent children—if a first child dies of SIDS, a SIDS death is more likely in a subsequent child.

SIDS occurs more frequently between the ages of two and four months, the age when babies begin receiving vaccinations. The medical establishment denies any connection between vaccinations and SIDS, but in a scientific study of SIDS, episodes of apnea (cessation of breathing) and hypo-apnea (abnormally shallow breathing) were measured before and after DPT vaccinations.”Cotwatch” (a precise breathing monitor) was used, and the computer printouts it generated (in integrals of the weighted extraordinary increase in episodes where breathing either nearly ceased or stopped completely. These episodes continued on for months following vaccinations. Dr. Viera Scheibner, the author of the study, concluded that “vaccination is the single most prevalent and most preventable cause of infant deaths.”As an epidemiological confirmation, when Japan changed the start time for vaccinating from three months to two years, their SIDS plummeted.

Another theory holds that SIDS is caused by normally harmless fungi and other microorganisms that consume the phosphorus, arsenic and antimony added as fire retardants, and plastic softeners in baby mattresses and bedding. Before World War two, unexplained infant deaths were unusual. But after 1950, the government of early all o the rich industrialized counties required treatment of baby and child mattresses with flame retardant chemicals. Phosphorus and antimony were most commonly used; arsenic was sometimes added later as a preservative. After that, American SIDS deaths ballooned four hundred fold; the toll has since declined. The presumed mechanism of death is the generation of extremely poisonous gases from the chemicals added to the mattresses. In consuming the chemicals, the fungi emit heavier-than-air neurotoxin gases based on phosphine (PH3), arsine (AsH3)(4) and stibine (SbH3). These gases are about one thousand more poisonous than carbon monoxide. They are about as toxic as Sarin, used in the 1980s Iran-Iraq war and Tokyo terrorist subway poisoning in 1995. The longer a fungi-infested mattress sits in a house, the more toxic gases it is likely to produce—an explanation for the increased rate of SIDS in children whose older sibling died of SIDS.

In some cases, fungal growth on polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a soft plastic commonly used as the mattress covering, was associated with development of a pink stain in the shape of the sleeping infant. Such mattresses were always found to be generating one or more of the gases. Pink stain often results from, and demonstrates presence of, this type of fungal growth. There is even a reference and health warning in the Bible to pinkish mildew (Leviticus 14).

Prevention

To prevent SIDS or crib death, an appropriate gas-impermeable barrier is needed between mattress and baby. An inexpensive slip-on mattress cover called BabeSafe—invented by New Zealander T.J. Sprott, PhD—came to market in New Zealand in 1996. Among one hundred thousand or so babies sleeping on this and similar products there and elsewhere, not one crib death has been reported.

If possible, use an organic mattress for baby, one that has not been treated with fire retardants. If using a conventional mattress, be sure to cover it with BabeSafe mattress cover. The mattress should be fitted with an organic mattress pad and a tightly fitted organic sheet. There should be no covering sheets or blankets, no pillow, no soft toys and no bumpers in the crib with baby. Keep him warm by dressing him in a sleep sack—made o organic cotton, of course.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends putting baby to sleep on his back, which reduces the chances of suffocation or of breathing in toxic fumes from the mattress. Some practitioners have argued that putting baby on his back will limit the development of neck muscles, or cause baby to have flat spot on the back of his head. But Anat Baniel, author of “Kids Beyond” Limits explains clearly that neck muscles will develop normally without giving baby “tummy time”.” In any event, well nourished, strong babies will quickly learn to turn onto their stomachs, but these babies are also strong enough to move their heads from side to side as they sleep.

Having a fan in the room has been shown to reduce the incidence of SIDS. And while we often focus on keeping the baby warm, it’s important that the baby be protected from overheating. SIDS deaths have occurred when sunlight coming through the window overheated a sleeping baby. Pull the shades down when baby sleeps and always make sure there is fresh air circulating the room.

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