Bed, bedding, and sleep environment: Rebreathing is only one of the high-risk factors in SIDS, SIDS-at-risk, and autonomic dysfunction. Poor sleep contributes to excessive tiredness and actually overtaxes the ANS. Reflux, or GERD, creates higher risk factors, including obstructive apnea, throat irritation, etc. Particulate matter, especially tobacco smoke, is another high risk factor. Research recommendations: a firm, clean mattress, with fitted sheets and no loose coverings; elevated sleeping position; positional aids; circulating fan to reduce rebreathing / concentration of CO2; pacifier use with under 1 year; allergen-free bedding / room furniture and flooring; blinds instead of curtains; no stuffed toys or other inclusions in sleep environment; air cleaners for sleeping environment.
BED/BEDDING: The HALO sleep system was designed by the engineer father of a SIDS infant. Tested in independent research, the HALO Active-Airflow Crib Mattress is the only crib mattress proven to reduce the re-breathing of oxygen-depleted air. A built-in fan circulates fresh air around the baby, blowing carbon dioxide away, while a powerful filter removes 90% of airborne allergens, like dust, pollen, and mold. It plugs into any outlet. The cost is under $250.00, similar to high-end mattresses that do not provide this safety feature.
AIR QUALITY -Indoor pollution: According to accepted research findings, even short-term relatively low level increases of particulate air pollution increase mortality and morbidity rates among all ages. The EPA found that even a small reduction in annual fine particulate matter emissions could reduce chronic respiratory illnesses and prevent thousands of deaths in the United States each year. As particulate matter in the air increases, infant mortality rates rise between ten to forty percent. Approximately one in every five SIDS cases in major metropolitan areas is associated with airborne particle pollution. Besides repeatedly demonstrating the links between air pollution and death in infants, research has shown that pollutants inhaled by pregnant mothers can reach fetuses via the umbilical cord. SIDS recommendations include keeping an infant’s environment totally smoke-free. Adults with sleep apnea are also at high-risk with tobacco exposure. States like Texas collected millions from the tobacco industry by “proving” that tobacco smoke, including secondhand smoke, injures the health of their citizens; however, these same states have failed to act to provide smoke free environments for those same “injured” citizens. While we cannot now ensure that we are all protected from tobacco and other particulate air pollution, we can protect our babies’ and our own sleeping environments with various filtration devices.