Monday, October 13th, 2014
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is more likely to take place on a sofa, than researchers and doctors had ever thought before, according to a study published Monday in Pediatrics.
While doctors have discouraged parents from letting their child sleep anywhere but on the firm surface of a crib or bassinet, researchers have found, using new data from the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths Case Reporting System, that sofa deaths account for nearly one in every eight SIDS and sleep-related infant deaths.
“Sofas don’t even come to mind when people think of places where infants sleep,” Dr. Jeffrey Colvin, study co-author and pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., told HealthDay. ”The proportion was much, much higher than I ever could have guessed.”
Sofas have soft cushions that can lead to SIDS and suffocation or strangulation. And the study found that those reported deaths were linked to surface sharing, sleeping on their side, changing sleep location and experiencing prenatal tobacco exposure. In fact, the study stated that “parents were more likely to lay their infants face down on a sofa than, for instance, face down in a crib,” The New York Times reported.
Researchers even stressed that babies can experiences SIDS when a parent is watching them. There’s a “fallacy that if I’m awake or watching, SIDS won’t happen,” Dr. Colvin said in the Times.
Bed-sharing, placing your infant on his stomach and having too many blankets and pillows around him are all danger zones when it comes to SIDS. The best rule of thumb when putting Baby to bed is to practice the ABCs: Alone, on their Back, in a Crib.
New baby in the house? Read up on these other prevention methods to protect your baby from SIDS.
Photo of baby sleeping courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
Parents whose children face serious or life-threatening illnesses are likely to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress, including anxiety and depression. These symptoms may, in effect, extend the traumatic effect the illness has on the whole family because it affects how parents treat siblings, their spouses, and other relatives. More on a new study about post-traumatic stress in kids and adults after a child’s injury from The New York Times:
Researchers who study parental stress tend to reach for the oxygen-mask metaphor: if you don’t breathe yourself, you aren’t going to be able to take care of your child.
“Parents need to feel well enough that they can then be there for their child, their other children,” said Nancy Kassam-Adams, a psychologist who is the director of the Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “The hardest thing is self-care.”
Dr. Kassam-Adams is the lead author of a new review of post-traumatic stress in both children and parents after the children were injured, which concludes that about one in every six children, and a similar percentage of parents, experience significant, persistent symptoms. They may have intrusive and distressing memories and dreams, or continue to avoid people or places that evoke the circumstances of the injury, or struggle with mood problems, including depression. If untreated, this can damage the child’s emotional and physical recovery.
Research into the effects of parental stress developed as pediatric cancer treatment claimed more and more success stories, medical victories that gave children their lives back. Clinicians and social workers — and parents themselves — began asking questions about how to help families continue on with those triumphantly recovered childhoods.
It helped, in part, to tell parents that they’d been enlisted in a war, said Anne E. Kazak, a pediatric psychologist and co-director of the Center for Healthcare Delivery Science at Nemours Pediatric Health System in Wilmington, Del. Parents connected to this metaphor: “You’ve been part of the war on cancer, the battle fighting it,” she said.
Some of the strategies and insights gained from this body of research are already visible in most children’s hospitals: a place for parents to sleep, even in the intensive care unit; including parents in so-called family-centered rounds; a staff attuned to interpret a parent’s extreme behavior as a cry for help, rather than a source of irritation and extra work.
But what happens after children are out of the medical danger zone? Many parents continue to experience the physical symptoms of stress — the racing pulse, the dry mouth. They continue to flash back to the moment of the cancer diagnosis, the moment of the very premature birth, the moment of the accident.
“It’s my belief a parent who’s traumatized is always expecting the other shoe to drop, will always be scanning the horizon,” said Dr. Richard J. Shaw, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford.
Image: Mother holding infant’s hand, via Shutterstock
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