Skip to comments.More City Infants are Dying in Bed
Posted on 07/04/2007 4:19:23 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
(Unsafe sleep environments blamed)
The number of infants who died after being placed in an unsafe sleep environment has skyrocketed since December, Milwaukee health officials say.
Milwaukee Health Commissioner Bevan Baker called the trend "alarming" and a "crisis" that the city must address by rethinking how to tell people not to sleep in the bed with their babies and to always place them on their backs whenever they put them to sleep.
Baker says he understands that parenting is a tough job.
"Many of these families tell us that it was just a temporary lapse or that they just sat or laid the child down for a moment," he added. "But an unsafe sleep environment will affect any baby - no matter the race - and so the advice given to parents has to be continuously reinforced by the community and anyone who comes into contact with mom, dad and baby."
Each month the Pediatric Death Review team, which consists of about a dozen organizations throughout the city, meets to brainstorm over the cause of infant deaths and to identify prevention strategies. In some cases, final causes of deaths may be pending, said Milwaukee County Medical Examiner Jeffrey Jentzen.
During the June review, the Milwaukee Health Department says, the team noticed that there had been 18 deaths between December and May in which an unsafe sleeping environment may have been a contributing factor. Of the 18 cases, 16 infants were co-sleeping with an adult and / or a sibling at the time of death, they say.
Last year, there were nine deaths related to unsafe sleep environments during the same period.
Jentzen said the percentage of deaths in which co-sleeping is a factor has been steadily increasing and is now involved in about 80% of cases the team investigates. His office uses a doll to have families re-enact how the baby was found because it provides a concrete visualization of the scene, he said.
Despite efforts to decrease infant mortality in Milwaukee, babies born to African-American mothers continue to die at a greater rate than those born to white mothers. In January, the Fetal Infant Mortality Review Report found that the overall infant mortality rate for Milwaukee remained steady at 12 deaths per 1,000 live births from 2002-'04, but it found that the rate among blacks was significantly higher - 19.4 - in that period. About 81% of the citywide infant deaths were in 12 central-city ZIP codes.
The majority of the babies looked at during last month's team review were African-American and lived in three central city ZIP codes: 53206, 53212 and 53215.
The causes of death for these babies included entrapment and sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
SIDS refers to those deaths that remain unexplained after all known causes have been ruled out through autopsy, investigation and medical history. It claims the lives of about 2,500 infants each year, according to the American SIDS Institute. Over the past 10 years, Wisconsin has had more than 1,000 confirmed cases.
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the national SIDS rate has fallen almost 50% since the launch of the "Back to Sleep" campaign in 1994, which urges parents to put their infants to sleep on their backs, rather than on their stomachs. Parents have also been told to remove all soft bedding from the crib and to make sure the baby sleeps alone.
"There are many reasons why (co-sleeping) happens," said Anne Harvieux, program administrator for the Infant Death Center of Wisconsin, based at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa.
For example, some people may not agree that the baby should be put to sleep alone, while others might not have the money to buy a crib, she said.
And there are many myths to overcome, said Kathy Elertson, pediatric nurse educator for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-St. Joseph.
"To many, SIDS is considered crib death and people think that it is the crib causing the death," she said. "And we still have parents that say 'I'll put him in the bed with me and then I'll hear if something happens.'"
Now they say on the back only, supposedly there's some statistical correlation with SIDS is what I have heard.
But my babies insisted on sleeping kind of part way on their sides, with one knee drawn up and the other kind of trailing behind. You could put them on their tummies and then find them shortly afterwards sprawled to one side. So who knows?
Ive never met a baby anything that isnt comfy in ANY softly lined, warm, rather tight space...near its “tribe.” :)
Not only have mothers rolled over on babies since time immemorial, but also this was so common a cause of death among infants that medieval writers had a specific term to describe it (to "overlay"). See 1 Kings 3:19 in the KJV -- "And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it."
Your disbelief is contrary to centuries of actual historical events. The affluence that made it possible to place a child in a bed of its own had a significant positive effect on infant mortality. To argue otherwise is almost the equivalent of suggesting bleeding as a treatment for a fever: archaic, ignorant, and contrary to common sense. Regardless of whether you believe "real mothers" could smother a child while in bed with it, many have done so all throughout poor nations and history. Just because some mothers might be lucky enough or light enough sleepers to get away with it does not mean that universal adoption of this method would not have many tragic consequences...
“So theres a correlation, but the SIDS isnt caused by the co-sleeping, its caused by the pregnancy risk-factors and prematurity.”
SIDS death is more likely to occur in such cases, yes. But SIDS also happens to healthy babies born to healthy mothers.
” I made myself a wall around the baby.”
A baby needs to be safe in a crib.
Look, the article says there is a HUGE problem, or implies same, on infant death in the ghetto and also implies it’s because of mothers sleeping with their infants.
I believe there’s more to it than that and your eloquent but snooty answer doesn’t address that assertion.
Your response does prove that you slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
I am quite sure that there have been babies smothered by their sleeping mothers. But right here on this little visited thread several ladies, none of whom are bad or evil people, but several ladies have stated that they slept with their babies. Plenty of babies sleep with their parents and I’d almost argue that sleeping with one’s mother is more normal than otherwise. ALL animals sleep with their mother, at least when first born.
You state that the affluence that made it possible to put a child in its own bed has had a positive effect on infant mortality. How? I mean I can write words too that sound important, sober and serious. Where’s your statistics?
However, go to hell, if sleeping with one’s parents is dangerous than by all means it is stupid to do so. Understand my assertion is that sleeping with one’s mother is not as dangerous as made out to be. Sleeping with TWO parents...well I dunno.
The point being that I simply do not believe that large numbers of newborn infants are suddenly dying, only in certain zip codes mind you...give me some scientific snootiness about that...is because they are simply sleeping with their mothers.
You may believe this if you want. I have a bridge in Brookly to sell you, cheap.
Those mothers with suddenly dead babies are:
-sleeping DRUNK or SERIOUSLY DRUGGED with their baby
-telling authorities that all they did was lay down to sleep with the child and it woke up dead....but something else, neglect?...killed the child.
Like another poster said, they keep changeing our minds. First it was put baby on stomach...than on back. Now mothers are killing their babies in droves in certain zip codes only.
I daresay, and I’m only guessing here, but I daresay that very, very few babies are killed by the simple act of sleeping with their mother.
Common sense....it’s all we have sometimes.
So! Dresser drawer babies! My son was a Smithfield Ham baby: we lined one of those baskets they put hams in, with a pad on the bottom and a tiny crib sheet. He’s 17 now, but he’s always been a ham.
I forgot to say that that little puppy is from Wisconsin too — from Portage, home of the Queen of Lab Breeders.
Mother in pre-20th century society finds baby dead in the morning. Mother knows nothing about SIDS, heart problems, overwhelming infection, or any of the other things that killed little babies suddenly and silently - and inexplicably - before medicine got itself organized.
"Well, I must have rolled over on the baby while I slept."
Then of course you have to exclude those Hogarthian moms who were stoned on gin (and even in those days 'overlaying' was found far more commonly in the London slums) and evil people who abused children and then claimed they "found the baby dead."
Since cribs and bassinets are relatively recent innovations, and even now are found only among the more affluent in Western nations, if 'overlaying' were a serious problem you would be seeing a lot more of it.
LOL! Perinatal influence triumphs again!
I slept in a dresser drawer for a time. Mom had too many kids too fast, so improvised. My babies slept with me, especially if they were ill. We didn't have monitors back then, and I worried. The slightest sounds of infants wakes most mothers, who have the mothering instincts.
When my babies were born ‘63 ‘66 ‘72, I was told to never put them to sleep on their backs. They could choke on their own vomit was the reason I was told. Now I cringe when I see a newborn put down to sleep on their backs. I did not sleep with my babies but I could hear them whimper from the next room and I was up like a shot.
Well, which is it? No babies are killed by good mothers through overlaying or that it is infrequent? Unlike your original statement (which was quite absolute), I never said that either the study was valid or that 50% of children would die from sleeping with mothers. I simply pointed out that your absolute statement was not borne out historically or through common sense. Which it isn't. Even the most rabid pro-cosleeping websites will tell you that there is a danger of overlaying (most even recommend not sleeping with your child if you are overly tired that night... surely the sign of an abuser or druggie!</s>). Take a close look at who made absolute and non-commonsensical statements in their post... especially statements based on what they want to believe rather than what they have investigated (I have no dog in this hunt, I've never even known a mother who has lost her infant... unlike others who might want to justify their behavior by anecdote). Oh, and please keep arguing with the idea that affluence and separate sleeping has had no effect on child mortality... even cosleeping professionals don't attack that (they tend to promote the emotional and developmental benefits).
Sleep with your baby however you want. But when you make absolute statements denigrating an entire class of people with nothing more than your own opinion to back you up... expect to get stomped on...
P.S. Note that disputing the historical record requires speculation (i.e. the mother didn’t know why the baby died, etc.) that is at best no more reputable than the historical report... and is most likely much less so. So if I have to assume anything, I’ll assume that most of the folks who reported overlaying actually did so... and not try convoluted rationalizations to reinterpret them...
There actually is a product available that is the same thing as what you describe. A little bed that is minus one side that attaches onto one side of the parents' bed. My daughter had one for her baby. I had never seen one before. I would imagine they are expensive, though. My daughter and SIL have always spent a lot of money on their little girl.
Very, very cute! We’ve had Black Labs for a long time now. Lost the oldest one last fall, and the next to oldest is on her way out, too. (Cancer.) Both had long, loving lives.
The worst part? We’ll be stuck with a “mooney” Basset Hound when the last one passes on. :(
I love puppies, but I think I’m about done with raising dogs. I just FINALLY got the boys out of the house and I’m lovin’ it, LOL!
I think I'm right. You don't. You like making a big deal out of nothing. Those babies are NOT dying because their wonderful loving mothers are sleeping with them.
Believe what you want.
I shall believe what I want. I've stated my piece, you've stated yours (with no statistics, just words that hey, I can type words too). I shall move on. Talk to yourself.
We’ve managed to have nine babies survive sleeping with us. Every other child preferred sleeping alone after about six months. The others were rather attached to me until they were kicked out by the next baby . . .
The funniest thing that has happened with a baby in bed with me was when our cat decided to have kittens in our bed. She hopped right on the bed next to me and our oldest son, and the next thing I knew, there was a kitten. I guess our kitty thought I was an expert or something.