National Standards Needed to Understand the Impact of SIDS
A number of articles hit the news the past few of days regarding the Scripps Howard News Service Investigation of SIDS deaths. The news refers to a study published in the Scripps Newspaper Group — Online, October 8, 2007, entitled, "SAVING BABIES: EXPOSING SUDDEN INFANT DEATH IN AMERICA" by Thomas Hargrove and Lee Bowman of the Scripps Howard News Service. As stated in and editorial by Dale McFeatters (Scripps Howard News Service), "In the early '90s, the "Back to Sleep" campaign was launched to persuade parents to have their newborns sleep exclusively on their backs. And the campaign appeared to have dramatic results, with authorities claiming that by 2004 SIDS deaths had fallen by more than half. But an investigation by Scripps Howard News Service reporters Thomas Hargrove and Lee Bowman casts deep doubt on the accuracy of those figures. Because of sloppy procedures, manipulation of statistics and lack of standardization, the success of public health efforts against SIDS has been substantially overstated."
Please keep the following in mind:
- Inconsistent diagnosis of infant death results in parents being left with unclear explanations for their baby's death and unwarranted feelings of guilt.
- Research efforts could be misguided by inconsistent infant death data. A similar investigation revealed that misdiagnosed infant death mislead research for a generation. You can read about that report at False Alarm: How a Syracuse Study Dominated SIDS Research And Helped Conceal Infant Homicides in the United States for a Generation.
- You can help ensure that a consistent national standard for infant death diagnosis and reporting is adopted. Please visit the Scripps Howard News Service web site at http://scrippsnews.com/sids/ and explore the information, explore the database of 20,000 records of babies who died suddenly from 2000-2004, and participate in the forums.
- Contact your Legislators and demand that the CDC's Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Investigation Protocol must be applied as a mandatory protocol and not a voluntary protocol as it is now. Read about the importance of a standardized protocol at: http://sids-network.org/experts/autopsy_protocol.htm.
- Many related articles can be read at: http://sids-network.org/experts.htm.
- Please read the article, "Mass Media's" Role in SIDS Education, at http://sids-network.org/media.htm.
We are currently gathering more information about this specific research and will keep you updated.
You can read the Scripps study here.
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