Wednesday, February 3, 2010
This week a study was released that shows in its preliminary data that scientists are coming closer to determining another factor – and perhaps the cause – of SIDS deaths. Reported last night on NBC’s Nightly News and this morning on the Today Show, the study – led by Children’s Hospital Boston – found that babies who died of SIDS had reduced levels of a chemical called serotonin, which helps regulate breathing, blood pressure and heart rate in the brain during sleep. Essentially, if a baby with low levels of serotonin is put face down in the crib and begins to re-breathe carbon dioxide, it may not be able to respond correctly by lifting or turning its head and waking up.
While we still have a ways to go to understand SIDS completely, this is a very encouraging step in the right direction. Researchers will work towards a screening test for serotonin levels in a baby’s brain so that we can identify babies who may be at greater risk for SIDS.
Furthermore, the study supports the practice of reducing the risk of putting babies on their backs at nap or bed time to reduce the risks of SIDS. Our educational onesies include several safe sleeping tips on the back, which I’ve listed below. Check out www.thissideupcampaign.org to learn more about our efforts.
Keep me safe by:
· Placing me on my back while sleeping
· Giving me a pacifier at nap and bed time
· Keeping me out of a grown-up’s bed
· Removing all toys from where I sleep
· Not allowing adults to smoke around me
· Keeping me from getting overheated
· Breastfeeding me as often as possible