The American Academy of Pediatrics just announced new sleep recommendations in efforts to save babies from dying of SIDS, yet the real dangers still haven’t been addressed.
Skin to Skin and Co-Sleeping
I applaud the AAP for including new evidence that supports skin-to-skin care for newborn infants. The addition of suggesting that a baby should sleep in the same room as his/her parents for at least the first 6 months and the mention of the use of bedside and in-bed sleepers is a big step up. That being said, I find it hard to agree with all of their recommendations, including one that says that a newborn shouldn’t sleep in the same bed as a parent. This is because I have come across much research on the benefits of co-sleeping and because there are safe ways to do it.
The most concerning part of the policy as a whole is that the AAP has yet to come out with any reasoning as to what causes SIDS and any unexplained death of an infant gets grouped into one big category termed SIDS. The one thing many SIDS babies have in common are exposures to chemicals that their little bodies cannot handle. Yet, this isn’t ever examined or discussed in terms of chemicals used in products around the child, on the child or on what the child sleeps on. In addition, the AAP continues to recommend a baby receive all vaccinations on time, without having any studies ever done testing their safety. Yet, listed on the CDC inserts for vaccines as an adverse event reported is SIDS!!! *** CDC has since taken this down from their own website. (More about this at end of post)
As discussed above, still unknown is the actual cause for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Through the flame retardants in mattresses are not the sole cause, they play a piece in the puzzle. Research shows that there are 30% less deaths related to SIDS when babies are put on their backs to sleep. Putting them on their backs means that their faces are not directly on top of the hazardous flame retardants they are laying on and breathing in. A newborn’s respiratory system is not fully developed. Thus, babies should not be exposed to chemicals that are going to make it harder for them to breathe.
In fact, in 2014, the University of Texas did the first ever study of its kind and found that infants are exposed to high levels of chemical emissions from crib mattresses while they sleep. “In this study, a team of environmental engineers at the University of Texas at Austin studied samples of polyurethane foam and polyester foam padding from 20 crib mattress. Their results were eye-opening, as they discovered that infants are exposed to high levels of chemical emissions from crib mattresses while they sleep!
They found that body heat increases the emissions of the chemicals. They also found they are strongest in the sleeping infant’s immediate breathing zone. The study was motivated by the fact that infants spend 50 to 60 percent of their day sleeping, and are considered highly susceptible to the adverse health effects of exposure to indoor air pollutants.
Think about this: When we bring baby home, many of us go out and buy air purifiers, stop wearing perfume, switch to that no-smell detergent, all in an effort to prevent allergic reactions in our babies. And here, they may have been spending half their infancy on a mattress that is leaching dangerous toxins”(My Green Mattress)!
The researchers identified more than 30 VOCs or “volatile organic compounds,” which are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids including paints and lacquers. Health effects can include eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system”(VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUND).
This being the case, an organic mattress is a great option. They have zero chemicals from any man-made component, no pesticides and no toxic flame retardants sprayed on them.
What should you look for when buying a baby/toddler mattress?
One that is organic – made of material without flame retardants or other chemicals. Because wool is a natural flame retardant, it is often used as the main material of the organic mattresses. You also want to avoid a mattress that uses vinyl coverings, as vinyl contains phthalates (PVC) that also cause illness such as cancer and asthma (see my post about my dishwasher for more on this). Unfortunately, there are companies that advertise their mattresses as organic, however, only the cover of the mattress actually is. I have found this with the “organic” brands once sold at Babies R Us and other baby stores.
There are actually quite a few organic mattresses out there. Be sure that the entire mattress is made from natural and organic materials, not just the cover. You also do not want one made from any type of foam – not even soy foam. Make sure that the mattress has a verified certification by a third party for being organic/green. Ideally, a mattress should use GOLS and GOTS certified materials and should also be GreenGuard Gold certified.
The Emily Natural Crib Mattress, made from GOTS certified organic cotton and natural wool. After owning 2 mattresses from My Green Mattress (I now have a total of 5), I partnered with them. You can get $30 off the crib mattress using code NATKIDS. You can also get $150 off any size mattress twin or larger using code NATKIDS. More about My Green Mattress Here: Not all Organic Mattresses are Created Equal
A Quick Look at the DTaP Vaccine
“70% of children who have died of SIDS received the pertussis vaccine within 3 weeks before death.” Within this 3 week time period after receiving the vaccine, children’s breathing patterns became stress-induced, wreaking havoc on their respiratory systems (Pages 120 and 121 of Vaccine Safety Manual For Concerned Families and Health Practitioners). This stressed induced breathing, combined with face down sleeping would seem to make it even more troublesome to breathe freely. This is the very same vaccine that lists SIDS as a possible side effect. Something to think about (at the very least).