New York Times article on SIDS

New York Times article on “What Causes SIDS?”

Recently an article appeared in the Parenting section of the New York Times entitled “What Causes SIDS”. It was written by health and science freelance writer Carrie Arnold. Every parent and grandparent should read the article to have a better understanding of the SIDS phenomenon and the prevailing theories of what causes it.

In the article Dr. Nino Ramirez, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the University of Washington, refers to the cause of SIDS as a “perfect storm”. She goes on to say that, “Every SIDS child has a unique history, but we can identify common risks by letting the data speak.”

According to the article, researchers have hypothesized that “infants who sleep facedown rebreathe the same air over and over again” which depletes the air “of vital oxygen and leaving it with higher levels of carbon dioxide.” The concern being that babies can suffocate “If newborns can’t rouse themselves when this happens (as babies younger than 6 months can struggle to do).”

Dr. Fiona Bright, Ph.D., who was part of a research team as a neuroscience doctoral student at the University of Adelaide. explained that during sleep “most infants can wake themselves up” but “SIDS babies don’t have this ability.” When this lack of ability to wake up is combined with further environmental stressors the article concludes “this triple risk can coalesce into the perfect storm.”

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