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Worth Repeating: SIDS Risk Reduction Programs Have 20-Year History of Saving Lives

[Source:  Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School]
On the cover of a popular consumer magazine, the latest celebrity mom holds her adorable newborn. The centerfold is emblazoned with images of the baby’s nursery with a crib filled with soft, frilly bedding, pillows and stuffed animals. Barbara Ostfeld cringes; the photos perpetuate a message she is trying to dismantle. The overstuffed crib, with all its beautiful accessories, is an unsafe sleeping environment for an infant.
Providing a safe sleep environment—with a firm mattress, fitted sheet and nothing else in the crib—is among the recommendations the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has put forth in its guidelines to reduce the risk of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Defined as the sudden death of an infant less than 12 months old which remains unexplained even after thorough investigation, SIDS is the leading cause of death of infants from 1 month to 1 year of age.
“Sadly, SIDS is a rule-out diagnosis; families do not have an explanation for why their infant died,” says Ostfeld, a developmental psychologist and program director of the SIDS Center of New Jersey at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “It’s one of the common threads among affected families that allow them to bond and support each other as they grieve.”
Pam McElgunn remembers each detail of Super Bowl weekend 1994 precisely, as if it happened yesterday. The melting snow flooded her basement on Friday. She became sick that weekend, and their washing machine broke with a full load of wet towels in it.
“I remember thinking that it just couldn’t get any worse,” said McElgunn.
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