We all have some innate fear of SIDS, and how could we not? The idea that your baby can die and no one quite knows why is pretty scary.
There are some known risk factors, such as second-hand smoke, having the room too warm, not being breastfed, crib bumpers, and soft bedding, and then there's a lot of speculation about further reasons such as formaldehyde as fireproofing in jammies and mattresses and much more.
A study that looked at over 130,000 infant deaths discovered something rather shocking -- the number of babies dying from SIDS rose by one-third on New Year's Day.
They didn't quite know, but the idea was parental drinking. Their hypothesis is even further supported by the fact that the SIDS rate jumps on the Fourth of July, and even on 4/20 (pot smokers, you hear that?), so parental stupor is obviously a big factor.
Look, I'm an old miser when it comes to this topic, and think drinking around kids is crap. But their hypothesis was that parents get drunk and are unable to wake to tend to infants in distress, or make poor choices about bedding, feeding, or other protective measures.
They figure if a parent can't rouse themselves, how can they be considered a reliable caregiver who can wake for their baby?
It's also mentioned that deaths from car accidents and absolutely idiotic and inexcusable drunk driving skyrockets as well, but it's unclear as to whether or not deaths from dumb drunk driving factor into the deaths they studied. What is clear is that if you drink and drive, and you're a parent, you're pretty much telling your child you don't care one fig about them, and that it doesn't matter to you if you're around for your child one bit. Drunk driving really isn't debatable -- there is never an excuse.
But back to the drinking at home, we know a glass of alcohol is acceptable for breastfeeding moms, and even debatable for pregnant moms, but the professor of Pediatrics from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr. Debra E. Weese-Mayer holds a firm stance and says caregivers of babies shouldn't drink at all, even if they avoid becoming drunk.
"Parents and caregivers need to grow up. If you're going to take care of a child, you have to be responsible."
Regardless of your opinion of a glass, or two, or five, it's obvious that parents are doing something stupid on New Year's. If you are going to drink, it's probably wise to have someone else who isn't at all, or limit yourself to one small glass of bubbly. If you do choose to drink, and have someone else watching your baby, they should watch them all night -- don't come home trashed and send the babysitter home.
You don't have to have alcohol either (and thinking you need to be drunk to have fun is a problem all on it's own!) -- Martinelli's cider is incredibly tasty. Like it or not, you do have someone whose life depends on your ability to be totally competent at 3 a.m.
What do you think is the reason more babies die on New Year's Day?
Image via wine me up/Flickr