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SIDS . . . Tummy Sleeping? or
Fragrance Products?

From The New Reactor -- Vol 9, No. 4: July - August 1999
By Barb Wilkie © August 1999

The Boston Parent's Paper (May 1999) had a paragraph on "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome." They did not suggest fragrance-free laundry products nor safe mattresses and safe protective coverings. Check out . Archived issues at

On page 25, they stated: "Limit the possibility of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Numerous studies have determined that placing young infants face down in soft bedding can contribute to SIDS. Keep soft quilts sheepskins and pillows out of your baby's crib and play areas."

I never put my babies face down in soft bedding, but mine did sleep face down. Knee chest position is a natural for wee ones . . . helps lungs develop for one thing. Secondly, I didn't have to worry about my babies aspirating if they regurgitated . . . it's very dangerous to inhale spitup.

On page 21, there was another piece of info on SIDS -- "SIDS strategy Alters Developmental Milestone" "The campaign to help prevent [SIDS] by having babies sleep on their backs has slowed at least two developmental milestones, researchers say: 'These babies take longer to roll over and to crawl.'" It goes on to state that there was no difference in the age of walking.

The piece states nothing about lung development, nor does it give any warnings about aspiration. It does say that "... the babies who slept on their stomachs tended to develop stronger back, neck and arm muscles and were able to roll over, sit unassisted, creep, crawl and pull themselves to a standing position sooner than babies who slept on their backs." They then cautioned that parents shouldn't be adding "... needless pressure to their lives by worrying about milestones." How about suggesting parents not add needless toxins (fragrances) to their lives and the lives of their infants?

Recommended is the latest medical belief: ". . . researchers and physicians urge parents to continue to place healthy children to sleep on their backs. The alternative -- with the risk of SIDS -- obviously isn't worth it." [I can't help but wonder what they tell parents of unhealthy children?!]

Considering what fabric softeners can do to the central nervous system of adults -- even some of us who are large adults (moi) -- I cannot fathom that doctors and scientists cannot come up with that BFO (blinding flash of the obvious): Eliminate NEEDLESS and toxic fragrances from the family's laundry -- especially baby's bedding and clothing. Fragrance-free detergents are available and vinegar can replace fabric softeners. Also, parents should remove all air "fresheners" and deodorizers (including those placed in the diaper pail).

Perhaps if scientists did unbiased research on eliminating superfluous fragrances, they would find that it is again safe to put the baby on his/her tummy to sleep, as long as the bedding isn't soft. They may even find improved lung development, in addition to the muscle development necessary so a baby can "roll over, sit unassisted, creep, crawl and pull themselves to a standing position" in a time frame that would be natural for his/her developing body.

Not to diminish concern about the usual suspects -- cats, cockroaches and dust mites -- but for one, Claremont Cat, would love it if the toxic chemicals began to get equal time from the mainstream medical industry and media. Claremont feels it only fair for doctors to also suggest their patients switch to fragrance-free personal care and cleaning/maintenance products.

Why don't the mainstream doctors tell their patients to eliminate superfluous fragrances? They must know that the American Lung and American Medical associations, plus Asthma and Allergy Foundaion of America recognize -- and have up on their web sites! -- the fact that fragrances can trigger asthma. A little research, if not common sense, may tell them that fragrances can trigger a lot more than asthma.

Please visit:

Regarding the widespread use of synthetically scented products --

Without accurate information coming forth from our mainstream medical doctors, and government agencies charged with protecting public health, the general public only has fragrance industry advertising hype and public relations campaigns to go on when making their purchasing decisions. Ads for synthetic chemical drugs must carry cautionary messages. Why not demand cautionary messages for synthetically scented personal care, cleaning, maintenance and pesticidal products as well? Give the buying public a chance to make an INFORMED purchasing decision.

-- barb

Comments? (Barb's email is no longer valid, please contact EHN). Please put WWW in subject line. Thanks.

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