Mattresses designed to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) are created to help prevent this condition from occurring. Makers of the SIDS mattress and other such products claim that toxic nerve gases produced in conventional crib mattresses are the primary cause of SIDS. The mattresses designed for SIDS prevention do not support the mold growth which contribute to these gases, and they often are made without fire retardant chemicals.
Sudden infant death syndrome, more commonly referred to as SIDS, is the sudden and unexplained death of a child under one year of age. The label “SIDS” is given only after a thorough investigation of the death scene and an autopsy is performed to rule out all logical causes of death. SIDS is the leading cause of death in the first year of life, although it is most prominent in children between the ages of two and four months.
A SIDS mattress is an infant crib or bassinet mattress that is designed to prevent off-gassing and to resist mold growth. One of the theories on the cause of SIDS states that a common household mold, which accumulates in most mattresses, combines with arsenic and other chemicals used as flame retardants, and produces toxic nerve gasses. There is some debate, though, on whether the small amount of mold present in a child’s mattress would be sufficient enough to produce large enough gas quantities to result in death.
The idea behind a SIDS mattress is to avoid the production of these gasses in the first place. The mattresses either contain very few or no chemicals so that the mold has nothing to react with, or they resist mold growth. These mattresses can be pricey because in order to comply with government fire safety standards without chemicals, naturally fire resistant fabrics must be used. This generally includes organic cotton and certain other materials.
The toxic gas theory for SIDS has been widely shot down by conventional medicine, although the researchers who support this theory claim this is due to a desire for money. Organizations receive millions each year to support their causes, and proponents of the toxic gas theory claim that if the cause of SIDS is found, these funds will halt for SIDS organizations. There are also several studies which denounce the toxic gas theory.
Many supporters of the SIDS mattress concept also believe in wrapping the mattresses with polyethylene sheeting. This is a type of plastic which is capable of holding in the toxic gases so that they cannot reach a baby. One argument against this theory states that the gases are very heavy and sink to the floor anyway. The makers of mattress covers designed for this purpose claim that no deaths have been reported for children sleeping on a properly covered mattress. Instructions for wrapping a mattress are found on many retail websites.
Based on most medical research, there is no cure or known cause of SIDS. There are various theories, and it is likely that there is not one specific cause but a combination of factors which cause these infants to die. Although use of SIDS mattresses have not been proven to work, there have no injuries reported from their use either. Parents should perform all necessary research when making a decision on SIDS prevention techniques.