SIDS and baby bedding

How much do you know about SIDS? And how is it connected to your baby’s bedding?

What is SIDS?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS, also known as cot death) is, as defined by the NHS, the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby. There are at least 300 cases of SIDS in the UK every year, and the exact cause is still uncertain. There are numerous theories, such as birth defects and environmental stressors, but it is generally agreed that there are a few things you can do to help prevent SIDS:

  • Have your baby sleep on its back, preferably in a cot in the same room as you
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy, after your baby is born, or let anyone smoke around your child
  • Do not share a bed with your baby
  • Do not let your baby become overheated
  • Keep cot clutter free (this includes stuffed toys)
  • When using a blanket, keep it tucked only up to the shoulders and do not cover the baby’s head

For more information, see the NHS or the FSID website.

SIDS and Baby Bedding

One of the more popular (and controversial) theories comes from Dr Jim Sprott’s book “Cot Death Cover-Up”. Sprott says that SIDS is caused by the release of harmful gases from inorganic mattresses and bedding, and he urges parents to purchase eco-friendly products and to replace them with each child. While this theory isn’t definitive, Sprott does raise an interesting question: what is in our bedding?

Many conventional mattresses and bedding are made with cotton, but they are also made with synthetic materials ranging from rayon and polyester in sheets to PVC and polyurethane in mattresses. Mattresses are especially worrisome because they are coated in chemical flame retardants which can include ingredients such as arsenic and antimony. Synthetics off-gas and it’s not unreasonable to say that all that off-gassing could have a negative impact on you and your baby’s health, as Sprott theorizes.

Eco-friendly Options

When purchasing mattresses, mattress covers or bedding, you want to make sure that they are made from all natural materials. Organic, natural fibres won’t contain toxins and they won’t off-gas; they will breathe, stopping dust mites; they are easier to sanitize safely; and wool is a natural flame retardant.

naturalmat—made in Devon, naturalmat has baby mattresses made with organic mohair, coconut fibre, lambswool, natural latex and horsehair. They also sell lambswool baby mattress toppers, organic cotton sheets and waterproof protectors, and tons of other bedroom accessories for babies, children and adults.

Manuka Baby—sells two types of organic baby mattresses: one made from bonded wool and another from coconut fibre. They also sell cribs and organic cotton baby bedding.

The Little Green Sheep—sells baby mattresses made from coconut fibre, organic wool, and natural latex in various sizes (from travel cot to Moses basket to single bed). They also sell organic cotton mattress covers, bedding, furniture, sleepwear, and more.

Source: FSID
Photo: tamakisono @ Flickr

Comments for 'SIDS and baby bedding'

2 Responses to SIDS and baby bedding

  1. Sara says:

    Most cultures around the world sleep with their children. When I had my daughter the midwife said to me co-sleeping is perfectly safe if you are not drunk and don’t use many blankets. She also said we are the only mammals that put our babies in a separate space while we sleep.

    • Julia Thorne says:

      Well said! I think the NHS tell people to just not co-sleep, because there will be those who do it and get it wrong.

      I sometimes co-sleep, if the baby’s unsettled – it means I can actually get some sleep! For the first few months, I had her in a bedside cot, so she was as-near-as co-sleeping all the time whilst still leaving me some room in bed to be able to get comfy :-)

      But the one thing that has been an absolute god-send with both my girlies is the Grobag – they’re absolutely wonderful! No blankets to worry about falling off, you know how warm they are (they all have a tog value), and you don’t have to worry about making sure they’re at the foot of the cot because they can’t wriggle inside the Grobag. And you can feed with minimal disturbance – no faffing around with getting blankets on-and-off! Fantastic!

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