Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Further Prevention Against SIDS

Something I am very passionate about is SIDS prevention. I've seen how sudden infant death syndrome affects a family. I've witnessed that pain and hurt and I don't want ANY family to have to experience that, especially my own. With Kye, I wasn't as on top of things as I should have been but with Britt (and all future babies) I am taking it very seriously.

We do all the things possible to prevent SIDS: back to sleep, fan on in room, keep the temp at 70 degrees (we have a thermometer in her room so we can always keep track of the temp!), use the angel care monitor, no bumpers, nothing in the crib at all. Even though we do all of those things, it doesn't mean that Brittlynn is 100% risk free of sudden infant death syndrome. The whole thing about SIDS is that they aren't really sure what causes it. Basically these preventative measures are things they have found that lower the amount of crib deaths, but they don't eliminate it completely.


I always appreciate learning new things and Rachael recently shared this article with me that opened my eyes in a BIG way!!! Basically it says that in New Zealand a lot of research has been done on what they call "cot death" (same thing that we call SIDS). They have found that the cause of crib death is from gaseous poisoning (phosphine, arsine and stibine). They are generated from the mattress on which a baby sleeps. Basically what is happening is that crib mattresses are made with protective materials against fires. The chemicals used to make them safer against fire risk are the ones causing the crib death. The chemicals mix with other chemicals...like those found in the baby spit up, poop, sweat, etc and cause a deadly combination. The reason back-to-sleep is so successful is that when a baby is face up they are breathing in less of the chemicals and the chemicals are less dense than air so they diffuse away from the baby's face. However, many babies do still die while back-to-sleep so it's not a full proof preventative measure.

What they discovered in New Zealand is that wrapping the mattress protects the baby from breathing in the chemicals and prevents cot death. There are a ton of numbers and scientific data to support all of this...however I don't really care about that. The ONE figure that popped out to me was this: The research started in 1995 and they began wrapping mattresses with these certain covers. At least 196,000 babies have slept on wrapped mattresses and of those there have been ZERO CRIB DEATHS!!! During the same time period there were 1,010 crib deaths of babies who slept on unwrapped mattresses but slept in parallel bedding situations to those with the wrapped mattresses. Who wouldn't buy one of these covers?!?!?!

I looked more into it on this site and ordered my mattress cover here. I measured our mattress and if you have a standard crib mattress the size you need is size E. I was a little nervous that Zach wouldn't be on board to order it because it does cost $41 (but that includes the shipping from New Zealand). However, he said he didn't care how much it cost. He may not be as vocal as I am about my fears of SIDS but he is equally as passionate about prevention and said any amount is worth it to have peace of mind. It's especially important to order this cover if your using a used mattress as the more the chemicals mix together, the more dangerous it becomes.

To me, the research speaks for itself and makes TOTAL sense. I'm not sure why it hasn't been more publicized, but I am going to do everything in my power to personally spread the word on this. If you're wanting to learn more I urge you to read into those sites and especially this FAQ section here.  I'm one of those annoying people on facebook that comments on any picture I see of a crib with bumpers in it and tells the (probably annoyed) mom that they aren't safe. Yup, that's me. But if that baby were to die from crib death and I hadn't said something I'd feel guilty about it. Like I could have helped in some way. It's RIDICULOUS that bumpers are even still available for sale. A few states have outlawed them and companies are slowly starting to stop making them (including Skip Hop Dot). There is NO reason to have a bumper. Sure it's cute but it serves no purpose and can cause your baby to suffocate. Not worth the risk!!! Anyways...sorry for the rant, I told you I'm passionate ;)

The cover takes AWHILE to arrive so be prepared for that. We had Brittlynn sleeping in her pack and play while we were waiting to get the nursery bedding finished up so we just continued to keep her in the pack and play until the cover arrived. She was over 8 weeks old before she finally got to sleep in her own crib!!!

There are very specific instructions for covering your mattress. What would be the point in buying the cover if we didn't cover it correctly??? We read and re-read them to make sure we did it right and here's a break down of what to do (I know some people are visual so I thought the pictures would help):

 1. Air the mattress out, preferably in the sun if possible. We left ours on the back porch for like three days. Also if your mattress has any type of cover on it remove it. Ours was covered completely and the cover was not removable, so you'll see further down what the instructions told us to do about it

2. Place it inside the cover

3. Fold the open end of the cover under the mattress and seal the cover using the adhesive strip.
4. Do not cut the cover to fit the mattress. If the cover is larger than the mattress (as ours was and yours will be if it's the standard size), after you seal the adhesive strip fold the extra plastic under the sides and/or ends (ours fit great on the sides, but was too long on the end). Make sure the cover is firm and smooth on the mattress.

5. Tape the extra plastic onto the cover using a wide clear colorless tape (we used packaging tape), making sure not to obstruct the ventilation holes which are on the printed side of the cover.

 6. Since our mattress was completely covered with a plastic type material and it couldn't be removed I looked on the website of the cover for how to handle it. The answer was in the FAQ section here. Once we had the cover on, Zach used a knife to cut out the material covering our mattress. He cut the holes out of the holes from the new cover. This cover filters the chemicals out of these two holes from the bottom of the mattress. Zach said he could feel stuff coming out of them already!
7. Covering the mattress is also very important. You MUST use 100% cotton materials!!! The first thing to place on top of the mattress is a pure cotton blanket. We used an old towel as it was the perfect size and was 100% cotton. On top of that place a 100% cotton sheet. We used one of Kye's old ones that doesn't match Britt's room. Then on top of that place your cotton sheet (the pink one crumbled to the side is what we used). Since the study is from New Zealand they actually use blankets to cover their babies as well and they have instructions for that. We, obviously, won't have blankets in the crib. But since Britt does spit up often and changing crib sheets is a pain we also use a 100% cotton little cover to protect the sheets and she sleeps on top of that.
 In her crib!!!
8. Since we also use the Angel Care monitor we had to wait even longer until she could actually sleep in the crib. With the Angel Care monitor you have to place the sensor pad on a piece of wood under the crib. Of course the piece of wood we have would cover the ventilation holes from the mattress. So Zach bought a piece of wood from Lowes then measured the placement of the ventilation holes and cut out holes in the wood to match up with the ones on the mattress. 

We have shared this information with our parents and have told them that Brittlynn will not be sleeping in their baby cribs until they, too, invest in the covers for their mattresses. Grandparents tend to have used things more than new parents do and the more used the baby mattress is, the higher the risk. I'm not willing to take that chance for sure!!! Wherever your baby sleeps, make sure to have a mattress cover for that bed! They do sell ones for travel cribs, but I don't think it's the same thing as the pack and plays we have here??? I thought about ordering one for the pack and play but my pack and play mattress is more like a thin piece of cardboard with a little cushion on top and I'm not sure how the cover would work for that, if it would at all???

I hope when you read this you are as urgent as I was to order a mattress cover for your baby's mattress. We still follow ALL of the recommendations for SIDS prevention but this is something I strongly believe in and do think it could very well be the thing that stops SIDS from ever happening again. Even if Britt was 6 months old when I learned about this cover, I'd still buy it. SIDS is something that is a risk until a baby turns one and I'd rather be safe than sorry with stuff like this. You can never really be too careful ya know? Also once you buy this cover and cover the mattress, you never have to buy another one. You don't ever remove the cover and can use the same mattress again and again for all your babies. A very worth-while investment!!! A way to cut costs if you're a new parent is to buy a used crib mattress then this cover, I'm sure you can get a used mattress cheap enough to where when you add in the cost of the cover you're coming out about even! :) 

Please, please, please if you are pregnant or have a new baby read the links I provided, look into the research, and order a cover. $41 may sound expensive but in the grand scheme of things it's so worth it. I'm beyond grateful to Rachael for sharing this with me and I truly hope that all of you spread the word about this as well!!!

5 comments:

Amanda said...

Hi Emily!

I've been following your blog for a while now. I have a daughter who is one month younger than Brittlynn and I have enjoyed your posts as I can relate to much of what you guys are going through.

Thank you for this post. I'm definitely going to be doing more research on this! I have a quick question... did you put two crib sheets on the mattress? The yellow one then the pink one.  If the mattresses are wrapped, do you have to put two?

Thanks!

travel cot mattress said...

This is exactly what I've been searching for. Thanks!

Lucia Belen Metcalf said...

I have a question: I thoughts babies weren't supposed to sleep on their backs because they could choke with their own vomit?

emilysparker said...

@facebook-799454551:disqus back to sleep always! it has been proven to DRASTICALLY reduce the risks of sids! I know when I was a baby my mom was told to put me on the tummy for that exact reason but now it has changed...as things seem to always be doing huh? :)

Melanie Van Wynsberg said...

Thank you for this information! I just purchased this cover! I hope it works well. I'm due with my first on May 22nd. :)

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