Some parents are turning their backs on “back to sleep”. “Increasingly, however, some new parents are finding that the benefits of having babies sleep soundly – more likely when they sleep on their stomachs – outweigh the comparatively tiny risk of SIDS.”

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  • gasman

    The risks from this are quite easy to state.

    The SIDS rate was 1.2 per 1000 prior to the back-to-sleep campaign. It is now 0.62 per 1000, albeit with less than complete compliance; it could possibly be lower in practice if the data only included infants who always practiced back-to-sleep. Not all SIDS can be prevented by this technique, so not all of the 1.2 per 1000 can be saved, but at least half can.

    So the number of lives saved is about 0.6 per 1000 babies. Restated, the cost is 0.6 dead babies per 1000 for using the prone sleeping position.

    The anonymous web communications create a new social force. Formerly, parents could not recieve support for such an activity (prone sleeping) because even if their friend in a face to face conversation did practice prone sleeping, they would be reluctant to admit it; the questioning mother would then not receive the support she sought for this contrary position. Now on annonymous web postings people feel free to speak of their ‘transgressions’. They might do so in order to relieve themselves of guilt for their indulgence; by pursuading others to follow their path they can feel better about their choice by strength of numbers.

    On the web you are more likely to get bad advice because the advice giver has no relationship to you. If your baby dies, your personal friend who might have advised the same would be devastated; this possibility might temper their enthusiasm for such advice. On the web postings the anonymous advisor will never face any possible guilt, and thus will have little misgiving about giving potentially harmful advice.

    The risk from the prone sleeping position, 0.6 dead babies per 1000 is quite real. Parents should make informed choices, so we should be quite up front about stating this risk. Then let the survival of the fittest babies and fittest parents begin in an early life version of natural selection.

  • Anonymous

    All the reports I’ve seen about this ‘new’ and ‘improved’ way to put a baby down to sleep seem to miss the point that just a few years go we were very solemnly informed by the medical community that stomach sleeping was the only way to go. No wonder people are afraid to tell each other what they really do….the medical types who demonize those those disagree with them are a potent and nasty force. Parents knowing anything about their own children? Impossible! Brings to mind recent posts scoffing at how parents have anything to add in determining whether their child is at death’s door or just bellyaching after too much candy.

    Yeah, and I too dissemble (nice word for ‘lie’) when it comes to stuff like this, because otherwise the drs are all over your ignorant case. My kid slept on his side always, not his stomach, and he sucked his thumb for years. But his doctor and his dentist never knew, because they would have told me I was committing child abuse somehow.

    Do you understand that it’s not possible to stand up there on that pedestal with your fingers crossed behind your back and still get any respect?

  • Anonymous

    “My kid slept on his side always, not his stomach, and he sucked his thumb for years.”

    The recommendations only work up to six months of age, then infants, turn and sleep whichever way they want. So this has nothing to do with how your older “kid” wants to sleep. Hell, if you want to double your infants’ risk of SIDS, that’s your business. Just don’t go bellyaching to Drs. Elliot or CJD when he shows up dead in the ER at 4 am with a load of bloody spittle at his mouth. It ain’t pretty.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Dorky Doc, You miss the point entirely — you are telling me that *I* am doubling risk of a SIDS death, but what I said is that YOU docs have done a 180 on what is more likely to produce a SIDS death: so please don’t be so snooty about what a reckless and ignorant parent I am when it’s your advice that is inconstant. Have you ever watched a baby try to turn its head when its neck muscles are too weak to make the turn all the way to the other side of the head? But noooooo, iron clad rule (until it wasn’t anymore): baby was to sleep on its stomach. Dumb idea, fellas. Flunks the common sense rule.

    Oh yeah, and now suddenly babies are supposed to sleep IN the parents’ room, after years and years of hearing what a rotten ignorant bunch of boobs parents are who do that. You crack me up. Do you appreciate how foolish this makes you look? Clearly not.

    and… My ‘kid’ was a baby when he slept on his side and sucked his thumb, but what a typical MD comment to assume that use of the word ‘kid’ ruled out (big doctor phrase there) him being ‘an infant.’ The phrase “for years” immediately followed “sucked his thumb” and modified it, but so much more fun for you to misdirect and deliberately misunderstand the comment than to face it and deal with it reasonably.

  • Anonymous

    Hey dude, you sound like the same very angry person that was so upset about a previous discussion of kids belly pain and CT scans. What else are you so upset about? Vent it all out. We used to think the world was flat, estrogen protected women against heart disease, and bloodletting was good therapy. There is nothing wrong with digesting and disseminating what appears to be better and more reliable information.

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