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SIDS = Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It is a "wastebasket diagnosis" for any infant death not pegged to some other cause. Based on this study we can say that many cases of SIDS are due to parental discombobulation. You know what discombobulation is, right?

According to the new study, SIDS incidence relates to parents' psych hospitalizations, drug and alcohol abuse. Here are the odds:
*2x more SIDS if EITHER parent had been admitted to a hospital for a psychiatric illness OTHER than drug or alcohol disorders
*7x more SIDS if BOTH parents had a history of any mental illness requiring hospital admission
*almost 7x more if the mother had an alcohol or drug disorder
*9x more if both parents had an alcohol or drug disorder

Formerly known modifiable risk factors for SIDS:
maternal smoking
sleep position (on belly is risky)


here's a followup study:


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
A friend's baby died of SIDS at the babysitter. It was really sad. This friend has a history of mental instability, but I don't think she's been hospitalized.
Jan. 20th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
What about the baby sitter? That's the person on whose watch the child expired. Of course, the parents' psych histories and use of intoxicants will influence their circle of friends, and hence choice of baby sitters, so the extrapolations can go far.
Jan. 20th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Well, I wasn't looking at that correlation. I figured they meant there was some sort of biological link between people who experience mental instability and the incidences of SIDS. My friend doesn't have a history of drug or alcohol use, and the babysitter was a day care center. So not sure how that all fits together.
Jan. 20th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
The connection I see is between being f(*&ked up and not taking good care of your baby. Notice how the association with the mother alone is almost as significant as the association with both parents. The mother is the primary caregiver of infants in most families. I don't think SIDS is usually due to genetic causes. I think these findings highlight a lack in the nurture department. But then, I think that most insanity and substance abuse are reactions to insane circumstances (also mainly not genetic, though a few are).
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
Are they saying that SIDS is not a medical cause of death, but a reference to any time that a parent indirectly or unconsciously causes the death of their child?
Jan. 20th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
They're not saying that, no, not at all. The scientists merely present the facts, the correlations, the incidences. It's up to people like me to point out obvious stuff such as the fact that being drunk/stoned/high can make a person incompetent to care for an infant, or that a person with psychological challenges is more likely to use/abuse substances. The leading theory about SIDS in the medical community seems to be that all infants occasionally stop breathing, and if they are face down in a bed, or have compromised lungs, they are more likely to stop and not start again. If there is not an attentive caregiver around to notice, the kid's a goner. If the mother has the infant slung on her chest and is watching it all the time, odds of SIDS are ridiculously low.
Jan. 20th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
I dunno. Sometimes babies die, just like sometimes kittens or puppies die. So it's poor care? Most babies slept on their stomachs so they wouldn't choke until recently, and the great majority of them didn't die. Wasn't there a theory about receptors that detect either the oxygen or carbon monoxide in the blood being faulty in some cases?

And what about the ones who die at daycare? Not all daycares are wonderful , but it takes the parental factor out, though there is a lot of multitasking going on there. I worked in daycare and am now a stay at home mom!

I'm actually writing a story about a crib death right now. It's a fake memoir of a friend's characters mother. It's a horrible thing to even write about.
Jan. 20th, 2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, you're right, bottom line is that infants are fragile and they're not guaranteed to live...there are so many systems that could malfunction, and science is of limited utility in understanding death. Whether the parents are users/headcases or not, it's a horrible thing to lose a child.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )



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