Checklist May Help You Identify If Your Baby Has SIDS Risk
Both Blair and Winn agree that, by themselves, these symptoms are not
sufficient to make a diagnosis of illness. "Although these symptoms are
statistically significant in the British study, they are not 'house burning
down' warning symptoms," says Winn. "The infants didn't have an obvious
illness, but they are worthy of attention."
Blair says that if parents note these or the other symptoms in the Baby
Check survey, they should add up the scores. If the scores meet the criteria
listed in the Baby Check instructions, he encourages parents to contact their
health care provider.
"The Baby Check score, as a means of quantifying acute illness, can be
used by parents to help them decide whether to seek medical attention,"
explains Blair. "It can be used by health professionals as a tool to
discriminate more reliably between those babies who should be assessed in
hospital and those who need not be."
Another sign revealed by the study was that SIDS babies were more than five
times more likely than babies who did not die to have had a
"life-threatening event," as defined by their parents.
"These events are usually associated with a change in skin color, a type
of pallor or bluish discoloration of the skin so the baby looks blue and
appears not to be breathing, or the baby look[s] pale and appear[s] not be
breathing," Winn says. "Whether or not these events are [actually]
'life threatening' is often a matter of semantics, but for the purposes of this
study, this type of event was defined as life threatening."
While experiencing such an event by itself does not necessarily predict SIDS
-- it happens to healthy babies also -- Winn still says parents "ought to
at least seek advice from their health care provider" if their baby
experiences such an event.
Copies of the Baby Check scoring system can be obtained via the following
address or telephone number:
Baby Check, P.O. Box 324, Wroxham, Norwich NR12 8EQ. Phone 01603 784400.
- A new study shows that a simple, 19-question scored checklist may be able
to determine which babies are at risk of sudden death.
- The Baby Check checklist is based on many symptoms and signs that may not
be significant individually, but which taken together may signify a risk of
- Questions on the checklist include:
In the last 24 hours:
Has the baby vomited at least half the feed after each of the last three
Has the baby had any bile-stained (green) vomiting?
Has the baby taken fewer fluids than usual in the last 24 hours?
Has the baby passed less urine than usual?
Has the baby been drowsy (less alert than usual) when awake?
Has the baby had an unusual cry (sounds unusual to mother)?
- The complete checklist may help parents and health care professionals
determine when a baby needs serious medical attention.