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Have Researchers Really Found the Cause of SIDS?

Back in mid-May, a news article entitled “Researchers Pinpoint Reason Infants Die from SIDS” was published. It immediately gained huge traction online and garnered a lot of interest and excitement. Even in the Sleep Consultant world, I saw lots of re-posts of the article.

Texts from friends and family started to trickle in, asking if I’d seen the article. Yes, I had, but I wasn’t excited about it. You see, the article is horribly misleading and actually promotes unsafe sleep practices. It doesn’t accurately portray the results of the research study about which it’s written. It gives parents the false belief that certain babies are susceptible to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome due to a certain enzyme present within the body, and there’s nothing that can be done to prevent it. This is far from the truth.

While researchers may have discovered a contributing factor, it is not the ONLY factor and we shouldn’t just start allowing babies to sleep with pillows and loose blankets. The publisher of the article apparently caught a lot of flak, because they have since changed the name of the article to “Researchers Pinpoint Important Biomarker for SIDS”, and updated it to recommend that parents still employ safe sleep practices for their babies.

Brown University economics professor Emily Oster best breaks down this study and explains what it means: New Study on SIDS Is Not What the Media Says It Is.

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