Researchers at a hospital in Queensland, Australia, recently found that babies exposed to cigarette smoke have weaker arousal responses and a higher risk of dying from SIDS. The researchers concluded that infants who were exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb were less rousable than infants born to non-smoking mothers. The hospital tested 20 infants between eight and 12 weeks old for behavioral and physiological changes, such as movements and eye opening; half were born to smokers, half were not. The babies exposed to smoke before birth had fewer reactions. The doctors suspect that the nicotine in the tobacco is what may be affecting the infants’ nervous system and therefore altering arousal responses.
SIDS Intensifies its Mission The National Sudden Death Syndrome (SIDS) Alliance recently announced that it is expanding its organization to include miscarriages, stillbirths, and sudden infant deaths up to age 2. It has also changed its name to First Candle in order to reflect its commitment to help all babies reach their first births. The organization will continue to focus on eliminating SIDS through education and research, while providing bereavement services to those left behind. Through educational outreach programs such as the “Back To Sleep” campaign, SIDS rates have been reduced by over 50 percent in the last 10 years. First Candle now plans to expand its focus to other causes of infant death, such as miscarriages and stillbirths, while providing support for grieving parents. “By working closely with other organizations such as SHARE, Mothers In Support and Sympathy and Resolve Through Sharing, we will be able to combine forces to ensure that all bereaved families receive compassionate grief support,” says First Candle executive director Deb Boyd.