- Pregnancy & Childbirth
- Attachment Parenting
- Family Nutrition
- Family Wellness
Oct. 10 - Dr. Sears comments on the new AAP policy on co-sleeping
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published a new policy on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome prevention (To view the policy visit http://www.aap.org/ncepr/sids.htm). They state that side-sleeping may pose a risk of SIDS and now advise parents to avoid the side sleeping position. Back sleeping is the safest, and we agree. They also cite research that suggests pacifier use may decrease the risk of SIDS. We don’t recommend breastfed babies use a pacifier, but parents should make that decision for themselves.
What we do disagree with is that the AAP continues to recommend against co-sleeping with a baby in the parents’ bed. In our experience and review of worldwide research, sleeping with a baby in the parents’ bed dramatically reduces the risk of SIDS. While the AAP policy doesn’t say co-sleeping causes SIDS, it says the risk of accidental suffocation of approximately 65 babies each year in a parent’s bed (which isn’t SIDS – it’s accidental death) warrants avoiding co-sleeping. What the AAP continues to ignore, however, is the fact that virtually all of the 2500 cases of SIDS each year in the U.S. occur in cribs.
The logical conclusion is that a baby is much less likely to suffer an accidental suffocation in a parent’s bed then they are to die of SIDS. Therefore, co-sleeping is much safer. And if parents follow our safe-sleeping guidelines (click here) they can ensure their baby will be sleeping in the safest possible environment.
Research around the U.S. has shown that about half of American families co-sleep with their babies. We should focus our efforts on teaching parents to do this safely instead of trying to get them to change their parenting instincts and use a crib.
Oct. 19 - Four Cases of Polio Caused by the Polio Vaccine found among Amish in Minnesota
A member of an Amish community who got an oral polio vaccine in another country has spread the disease to a few non-vaccinated members of the community. In the U.S., we no longer use the oral polio vaccine for this reason – the vaccine actually can spread the disease. The injected polio vaccine used in the U.S. doesn’t create this risk. The last case of wild (natural) polio in the U.S. was in 1979. Parents should not be concerned over this incident. The vaccine-induced outbreak will likely be confined to that unvaccinated community in Minnesota.
Oct. 25 - Dr. Sears Flu Shot Recommendations
We have never recommended the flu shot as a yearly routine for all healthy babies, and until now, neither did any medical expert or policy makers. Last year, however, the American Academy of Pediatrics made a new policy stating that the flu shot should be given to all babies ages 6 months to 23 months at the start of flu season (October). They still do not recommend a flu shot for all children 2 years and older.
While we have never been against giving the flu shot to anyone who wants it, we do not feel that all babies and children should routinely get the flu shot. The main reason for our hesitation is the high rate of adverse reactions from the flu shot (many kids experience a flu-like illness for a few days after the shot).
Parents who want flu shots for their babies and children should ask their doctor for a mercury-free brand.
We do recommend babies with asthma, heart defects, or immune system problems get a flu shot each year (not just as a baby, but throughout childhood as well).
This year’s flu shot does NOT protect against the Bird Flu.