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(FYI: Dummys are pacifers in this story and cot death is SIDS.)
Dummies 'reduce cot death risk'
Giving a baby a dummy when they go to sleep may reduce their risk of cot death by 90%, a US study says.
It compared 185 cases of sudden infant death syndrome with 312 healthy babies and adjusted for known risk factors.
The British Medical Journal study found the benefit was greatest for children sleeping in an "adverse" environment.
It said dummies may help stop babies from cutting off their air supply. UK experts welcomed the research, but stressed it was a small study.
The adverse conditions included babies sleeping in a house where both parents smoked.
Cot death rates have fallen in recent years, but it still claims the lives of 300 babies aged under a year old in the UK every year.
The researchers, from healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente, say that approximately one in 2,000 babies die of cot death in California.
But, if all babies used a dummy, they calculate the risk would be one in 20,000.
They say the key may be the fact that dummies usually have a bulky external handle.
This may help to prevent a child from cutting off its air supply by burying its face into soft bedding, or an overlaying object such as a blanket.
Writing the BMJ, they also say sucking on a dummy may enhance the development of pathways in the brain that control how airways in the upper respiratory system work.
Previous research has also suggested the use of dummies can cut the risk of cot death - but not to the same extent.
The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) recommends that if a baby is using a dummy regularly then it is best to carry on.
Two research studies published since 2000 showed that babies who usually use a dummy but then stop are at an increased risk of cot death on the night they do not use it.
However, the charity said statistical analysis was very complicated, and the findings required careful study.
In a statement, FSID said: "Our advice is that it there is no reason for parents not to use a dummy but if they do, they must use it every time the baby sleeps and never forget to give the baby the dummy."
The charity also recommended:
A dummy should not be coated in a sweet solution
It can be taken away when the baby is about 12 months old
If a mother is breastfeeding, it might be best to wait a month or so before introducing a dummy
Heather Neil, a post-natal tutor with the National Childbirth Trust, said: "This study may well add to what we will eventually know about [sudden infant death syndrome], but case control studies trying to isolate single factors demand larger numbers than have been recruited here, and this study does not tell us why dummies appear to have the effect they found.
"So while the NCT welcomes all research into this topic, on the basis of this study, we really can't say that parents should do anything different from the current 'reduce the risk' guidance."
HOW TO REDUCE COT DEATH RISK
Put your baby to sleep on its back
Do not expose your child to smoke
Keep your baby cool, with its head uncovered
Parents should not share a bed with their baby if they are very tired, smoke or have been drinking or taking drugs which make you drowsy. But the baby should be in a cot in the same room for at least the first six months
I heard it on the radio this morning so I tried to track down the study... I'm glad the other boards are aware! I posted it in the news, infant, and child health as well as here...
Binky? What a cute name! I'm going to tell my dad I stucked my thumb for the right reasons now.
Pacifiers cut risk of SIDS: Study
Crib death cause remains unknown
Sleeping on back
still safest position
Dec. 9, 2005. 04:48 AM
Call it a soother, a dummy or even a binky, but for some babies the controversial pacifier is simply a lifesaver.
The use of a pacifier by babies can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome by 90 per cent compared with babies who don't, American researchers say in a study published in the online version of the British Medical Journal.
Researchers interviewed mothers or caregivers of 185 infants who died and 312 randomly selected others. The babies were matched for race, ethnicity and age.
"A pacifier, if you are really worried about SIDS, I don't think there is any harm," said Dr. Howard Hoffman, study author and a director at the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders in Bethesda, Md.
"It's good to have results like this instead of negative ones."
SIDS occurs in infants who seem healthy but then die suddenly, for no apparent reason, to the utter devastation of parents and health providers. Most die between 2 and 4 months, but older and younger babies can also fall victim to SIDS.
The diagnosis of SIDS is given after an autopsy shows there is no cause of death.
While the cause of SIDS is still unknown, there are risk factors such as younger maternal age, exposure to smoke before and after birth, soft bedding, and race — North American children of African and Native Indian descent have higher SIDS rates.
During the 1990s, the incidence of SIDS fell dramatically in the Western world after doctors recommended babies should never sleep on their tummies or sides.
Babies should sleep on their backs, experts say, in a smoke-free environment. The study showed if a parent is a smoker and sleeps with a child who is not using a pacifier, the relative risk of their child getting SIDS increases 4.5 times.
In 2002, 111 infants died from the syndrome, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, citing the most recent figures available. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pacifier use for infants up to 12 months during nap and bedtimes to lessen the SIDS risk.
Pacifiers can help reduce the effects of other SIDS risk factors, said another study author, Dr. De-Kun Li of the Kaiser Permanente HMO in Oakland, Calif. Among infants who used pacifiers, no increased risk was associated with sleeping position, the study indicates. While sleeping with a mother who smoked is also linked with increased risk of SIDS among infants who did not use a pacifier, there was no such link among those who did.
Doctors don't really have an answer why pacifiers work, Hoffman said. "It's speculative," he said.
It may have to do with sucking, but Li thinks it may be the soother's shape.
"My hypothesis is it is actually mechanical," Li said. "Pacifiers have bulky handles. When you put it in, the whole constellation of the configuration of the airway is changed."
If a loose blanket somehow comes to cover a baby's mouth, the handle of the pacifier will create or prevent the baby from suffocating by creating an air pocket, he believes. Perhaps soother use has something to do with the sleep cycle or calming the baby, Hoffman said.
The presence of a pacifier isn't a saving grace for everyone, cautioned Mary MacCormick, a counsellor with the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths. MacCormick lost her grandson Jesse Buck to SIDS in 1990.
"It didn't help my grandson. He died with one in his mouth," she told the Star. "My only problem with the pacifier is it isn't the most important risk reducer, and that is sleeping on the back."
Losing a child to SIDS can change family dynamics forever, said MacCormick. Jesse Buck died two days short of 4 months of age.
"I still feel guilty. My daughter was only 17 at the time and I was the adult," she said. "We didn't know about putting him on his back then."
She hopes people don't assume it's okay to let babies sleep on their tummies as long as they are using a soother.
"I just don't want other parents to forget the other two (risk reducers) — sleeping on the back and living in a smoke-free environment."
Dr. Michael Dunn, chief of newborn and developmental pediatrics at Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, said pacifiers should not be used until after one month so newborns establish good breastfeeding practices and should not be forced on babies who don't want to take it.[/b]
The article is making a huge leap saying that if all babies used a soother the risk of sids would be 1 in 20,000 instead of 1 in 2,000 However it also says that this 90% reduction in risk is for ADVERSE SITUATIONS. Meaning those houses where parents smoke or have blankets in the crib or have the baby on their side/stomach. What is the real reduction when those elements are taken away?
It is basically saying to put your baby to bed with a soother so if the bankets come over their head the soother block it from smothering them. Uh, don't put the blanket in the bed.
The 2nd article even says that while a mother who smokes and sleeps with her baby without a soother increases that baby's risk that they do not know if a mother who smokes and sleeps with her baby WITH a soother does not increase the risk.
They're taking 1 small finding and making a very large and potentially dangerous blanket(pardon the pun) statement.
How many babies keep a soother in their mouth the entire time they're sleeping? My 1 kid who had one sure didn't.lol