Monday, 17 January 2011

SIDS: Amanda the Panda Grief Service

New figures show the number of sudden infant death syndrome cases dropped by half over the last decade.  But the mystery surrounding SIDS continues to baffle parents and doctors.
If you have a child, you may have heard about a new finding.  It links SIDS to holiday celebrations.
Do a simple search and you will find it all over the web.  A study, by a University of California sociologist, found a 33% spike in cases of sudden infant death syndrome on January first, versus the other days of the year.  It suggests parents who drink more may be less careful when they put their babies to sleep.
"You can totally understand how parents would be more stressed, more tired around the holidays." Says medical doctor, Lydia Holm at Blank Children’s Hospital.  However, she adds that the report may have nothing to do with SIDS.  And everything to do with suffocation.  "If you go in and find a baby that's died, and there are a lot of pillows and soft toys and they were found sleeping on their stomach, then that really could be classified as suffocation and not as SIDS."
The distinction matters because of, what Cindy Meek, Program Coordinator for Amanda the Panda says, that SIDS parents already have to endure.  "That can be hurtful, but again, sometimes all sorts of things that are said or done can affect grieving people."
Amanda the Panda Grief Services organization offers healing to Iowa families that suffer losses.  Cindy says the real SIDS is so difficult because there nothing to blame.  "We feel so responsible as parents for the very survival of our children.  It's our job to take care of them to launch them out into the world and to give them a future and so it's extra-difficult for parents when something does go wrong in that they lose that child so early in their life.  There's that heavy sense of responsibility that may not, again, be logical, but emotionally it makes sense."
Lydia Holm adds, "The real SIDS is unpreventable.  Because no one knows what causes it."  Doctor Holm says parents should focus instead on what they can do to prevent suffocation.  It begins with laying an infant to sleep on his or her back.  "On a firm mattress, no soft bedding, no toys.  Have them in your room, but not in your bed."
Doctor Holm says that bumper pads in cribs may be stylish, but parents should not use them.  She says they pose a serious suffocation hazard.
She says new evidence shows a sleeping infant with a pacifier in its mouth has a lower chance of dying from SIDS. Though doctors have no explanation as to why.
The Iowa SIDS Foundation provides support for families who have suffered a SIDS loss.
And "Amanda the Panda" has openings for support groups that are about to begin.,0,2583415.story

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