Home Monitoring for Sudden Infant Death
The lay press has recently published many news items concerning sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and especially one concerning the use of home monitoring equipment designed for its prevention. This electronic equipment, which is sold over-the-counter and advertised to prevent SIDS, is not only costly but its sale at this time is premature and should be discouraged. Monitoring should be used only by able research persons until there is better evidence concerning the indications for it.
A number of studies on SIDS are presently in progress at medical centers throughout the United States.1-3 One is examining the relationship of SIDS to sleep apnea; another is studying cardiorespiratory responses and the sleep cycle. It is hoped that these and other studies will soon yield information about the pathogenesis and prevention of SIDS that is lacking at the present time.
The psychological impact on the family of a baby who is being monitored at home must be very great. Failure of the equipment to operate properly is not only a hazard to the baby, but causes the family sleepless nights when there are false alarms, or excessive anxiety if the monitor itself is not attended constantly.
In our present state of knowledge of SIDS, the most important functions of the pediatrician or family physician are to examine the patients he cares for and assure himself that they are in good health; to be well-informed about SIDS; and to give full emotional support to the family of a SIDS baby.
This statement will be modified at the earliest possible moment as warranted by results of scientific research and improvements in the technology of monitoring.
- Copyright © 1975 by the American Academy of Pediatrics