When Cute Isn’t Cute

Infant Breathing

Breathing is a complicated physiological process that occurs differently in infants. The area in our brain that controls breathing is not fully developed in infants, who are at higher risk of suffocation, particularly during sleep. The phenomenon of infants dying in their sleep inexplicably, documented for thousands of years, has become known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Safe Sleep for Babies

Safe infant sleep campaigns are a public health success story. Australia’s safe sleep campaign began in 1977, has been refined as new evidence comes to light, and continues today. The reduction of SIDS rates in Australia since the 1980s is predominantly due to our safe sleep campaigns informing parents of risk reduction measures they can take to protect their babies.

This pictorial shows the public health messages used for all parents of newborns in Australia today to encourage safe infant sleep practices which evidence clearly demonstrates, reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). I have highlighted the explanation of why babies’ head and face should be left uncovered.

Safe Infant Sleep from http://www.rednose.com.au

Keep baby’s head and face uncovered: Covering your baby’s head or face during sleep may cause them to overheat or suffocate. Red Nose recommends safely wrapping or swaddling newborns as this is a very useful way to soothe and settle your baby in preparation for sleep. Once your baby shows signs that they are attempting to roll, dressing them in a safe sleeping bag with a fitted neck and armholes and no hood provides a safe and comfortable alternative. Always place your baby with their feet at the bottom of the cot with a sheet and/or light blanket tucked in firmly at the sides of the cot. This will stop them from wriggling under covers and accidentally covering their face.

Below is a very sad example of how vulnerable public health is and why those of us with public health training have an ethical obligation to oppose politically motivated disinformation.

Unsafe Infant Sleep in the Time of Covid

23 thoughts on “When Cute Isn’t Cute

  1. Hard to imagine that any parent would think it a good idea to mask a baby’s face at any time, let alone for sleeping.

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  2. In some places infants from the age of two are required to be masked but not below because of choking hazard. The reasoning being below two the child may not be able to remove mask if it becomes distressed. I am no child expert but surely two year olds are not identical in terms of physical development, alertness to their own physical safety, obedience to their parents and maturity to reject a parental instruction if it causes them harm. Infants have less oxygen processing capacity, can be endangered by over heating and what if they fall asleep due to insufficient oxygen? The parent might miss the child is in trouble without being able to see its face. Previous to Covid health advice was to not cover a small child’s face. If a child dies due to wearing a mask who is responsible?

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    1. Safe infant sleep recommendations have not changed. Sadly, when media and political histrionics tell people to be afraid, proper public health messages drown in the noise.

      Media and politics should not be our public health decision makers. Sweden provide an excellent model – their public health agency is independent of political influence. As a result they got an evidence based pandemic response. It’s over in Sweden. Without curfews, masks, police enforced lockdown or anywhere near the socio-economic destruction the rest of us continue to navigate.

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      1. Agree. The response to Covid is a political agenda. Lockdown is causing deaths. Dictatorship via Covid is not an over-statement. But propaganda needs to be challenged with facts. Masking infants is madness, and in itself shows a callous disregard for human life and suffering. Do children have to die before govts acknowledge this policy for children is wrong and relent?

        Can you see my site now? The settings are on public.

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    2. There have been horrific scenes on flights, of security personnel and/or pilots insisting on babies being masked. Public Health Policing by uninformed people in positions of power – a really dangerous precedent. The UK are even introducing “Covid Marshalls” for their streets. Communist leaders must be having a ball watching this play out.

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      1. Yes, I saw the article about a family put off a plane when crew enforced masking on a 19 month old who became hysterical.

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    1. As the WordPress settings appear to be correct – on public – I suspect it is a problem with my (old) computer. I can’t access another computer until Tuesday. In the meantime thanks for identifying the problem, and your patience. All the best.

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    1. Yes, tak, etc is also me. That is my original site, Citizens not Serfs, which I put on private when I stopped blogging a year ago. However Citizens is on – conartistocracy.wordpress.com, or should be. However tak- is my sign in. Clearly I am no master of WordPress. Give me a few days to work on this then I’ll check with you again.

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      1. Phew! It is not usually such hard work to see someone’s blog, but looks like I need to do a bit of work on my sites to clear all glitches. Thanks a mill for letting me know, I didn’t know I had a problem. 🎰

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  3. A blogger I follow has raised the issue of pregnant women wearing masks reducing supply of oxygen to foetus. I wondered if you knew the medical position on this?

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    1. I do not know, and suspect that there may not be a universal position? Prevention of Sudden Infant Death covers the issue of protecting the airways of babies (coincidental to masks specifically). The maternal-foetus interface is very complex and maternal oxygen and nutrients favour the foetus, so that if O2 levels reduce, the mother would experience impact before the baby does. Although it is much more complex than that, which is beyond my knowledge base.

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      1. It seemed to me when I tried to research it that there was definite knowledge about oxygen deprivation effects on foetus development with respect to smoking, high altitude and carbon monoxide poisoning. But nothing with respect to masking. So what is happening now amounts yo a mass experiment with present pregnant women as guinea pigs. Which is extraordinary given the zealous attention given to the ill effects of a pregnant woman smoking or drinking or otherwise not prioritising making her body into a perfect incubator.

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