Checklist May Help You Identify If Your Baby Has SIDS Risk
WebMD News Archive
The Baby Check is based on seven symptoms and 12 signs, each of which
receives a score.
"We discovered that three of the 19 signs and symptoms occurred in a
significantly greater proportion of infants who died of SIDS than in the living
babies studied as a control group," explains Blair. "Those signs or
symptoms included [infants] being drowsy most of the time when awake, infants
wheezing, and infants taking less than half the normal amount of fluids in the
last 24 hours before their deaths."
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.