If you're one who's been around me since the baby days or you've ever asked me for baby advice, you'll remember that I never have bought into the whole "Back to Sleep" campaign for prevention of SIDS. Yes, there are some apparently well-designed studies that show a correlation between SIDS and babies who were not sleeping on their backs, but I don't believe it's that simple. A correlation does not a cause make. There are still no good answers about SIDS, and still no consensus on whether it even is, in fact, a "syndrome" in the classically understood sense. I tend to think it's more of a "none of the above" catchall category, and I believe that one day we will discover something unexpected and counterintuitive about it--perhaps like the discovery of the role of H. pylori bacteria in peptic ulcers. I have a gut feeling that when we find out the real culprit (if indeed there is one culprit and not a whole collection of things) we're going to be very surprised.
Nevertheless, there are from time to time some other fascinating correlations. Today, this news:
CHICAGO (AP) - Using a fan to circulate air seemed to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in a study of nearly 500 babies, researchers reported Monday.
Placing babies on their backs to sleep is the best advice for preventing SIDS, a still mysterious cause of death. Experts also recommend a firm mattress, removing toys and pillows from cribs, and keeping infants from getting too warm.
"The baby's sleeping environment really matters," said study senior author Dr. De-Kun Li of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif. "This seems to suggest that by improving room ventilation we can further reduce risk."
How about that--a fan might be a baby lifesaver! (Some of us already know it's an adult lifesaver!) Plug that thing in!
Fan use linked to lower risk of sudden baby death