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ITV American Academy of Pediatrics Discovery Health Channel

TV Show Excerpt - SIDS

The following excerpt is from the original transcript of the Kids Healthworks television series, Episode 112.

WENDY RUTLEDGE (HOST)
A new parent's worst nightmare....
A healthy infant is put to bed, and never awakens. It's called SIDS: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. By definition, there is no clear-cut cause. No warning. But SIDS researchers are making some headway ... and the incidence of SIDS continues to fall.

HOST
There are precautions that a new parent can take to reduce her child's risk of SIDS. First and foremost, babies should sleep on their backs.

JOHN KATTWINKEL, MD, FAAP
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

We know that if babies sleep on their stomach - prone sleeping - is a very major risk factor. Babies are about 2 1/2 times more likely to die of SIDS if they commonly sleep on their stomachs.

HOST
This is a fairly recent finding. In fact, it was not until 1992 that the American Academy of Pediatrics began recommending babies sleep on their backs. Since then, however, SIDS deaths in the United States have dropped by more than 40%. Yet, despite this significant drop, there are still plenty of people who haven't heard the news.

JOHN KATTWINKEL, MD, FAAP
Frequently parents will take care of babies during the first month or two but then grandparents or daycare centers will take care of them in the highest age range for SIDS, which is the 3 to 5 month range.

HOST
And grandparents or childcare providers who don't know any better may place a baby on his stomach to sleep. This helps explain why twenty percent of SIDS cases occur in childcare settings.

JOHN KATTWINKEL, MD, FAAP
Parents need to tell their parents or their daycare center that their baby normally sleeps on the back, and they want them sleeping on their back in the daycare center.

HOST
For those parents who are worried that their child may spit up and choke while laying on his back, Doctor Kattwinkel has this to say:

JOHN KATTWINKEL, MD, FAAP
Aspiration deaths have not gone up at all in fact they've decreased a little bit since the back to sleep campaign. And it's not at all hazardous to place babies on their backs.

HOST
Another important precaution parents should take is to keep their baby's crib free of pillows, stuffed animals, comforters and blankets - anything that could potentially interfere with a baby's breathing.

Dr. Kattwinkel: A very simple firm mattress with a tight fitting sheet and a standard approved crib, and she'll sleep well on her back.

HOST
Another reason to avoid comforters and blankets is that babies who become overheated are also at greater risk for SIDS. In fact, SIDS occurs most often in the winter.

Dr. Kattwinkel: I noticed that you've got her in a sleeper, which is important because then you don't have to use extra blankets and anything else to keep her warm. As long as the room is comfortable for you it'll be comfortable for her.

HOST
Another, entirely preventable risk factor for SIDS is smoking.

JOHN KATTWINKEL, MD, FAAP
We do know that mothers who smoke have a significantly higher chance of their baby dying of SIDS later on. And there is some suggestion that even if they don't smoke during pregnancy but other members of the family smoke around the baby that perhaps this also increases the risk.

HOST
In the end, SIDS will take the life of about one in a thousand infants, which means that there's a very good chance that your baby will be safe.

JOHN KATTWINKEL, MD, FAAP
We're all going to be anxious that this might happen to our child but if you take the precautions, the chances are very high that it won't.

WENDY RUTLEDGE (HOST)
There are a number of crib devices on the market that claim to prevent SIDS, but the American Academy of Pediatrics says that none of these have yet been proven to work. S





Did you know that a mobile can delight and stimulate your newborn, but that it can also become a strangulation hazard? A mobile should be removed from your baby's crib as soon as he can rise to his hands and knees, or when he reaches five months -- whichever comes first!