Jenna Merle’s twin baby girls, Emma and Ellen, were a dream come true. When Jenna woke up to check on them one night, she experienced every parent’s worse nightmare.
“I grabbed her leg and she was cold. I could feel it through her sleeper. I moved her and her head turned. She was white. I started screaming for my fiancé, ran to our bedroom and just screamed: Ellen! I collapsed on the floor. He went and tried CPR, but it was too late. We called 911 and they were there in minutes. The paramedic came upstairs and told me it was too late. I lost it and just couldn’t move or stop screaming. We had lost our youngest twin daughter,”Jenna revealed.
At just two months old, Ellen was taken too soon by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, known as SIDS. The Merle family was devastated… and confused.
Although experts have suggested for many years that placing infants on their backs to sleep to prevent SIDS, a recent study revealed a safe sleep environment isn’t enough.
Here’s the 3 major factors contributing to a baby’s overall risk of SIDS:
1. There are certain inherent factors—like premature birth, exposure to smoke while in the womb—that increase the vulnerability for infants.
2. Infants who die of SIDS tend to be in a critical stage of development; the greatest risk is for those younger than 6 months old.
3. The sleeping environment- meaning the position they sleep in and the type of bedding in the crib.
As the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age, SIDS continues to take the lives of over 2,000 babies in the U.S. per year. Although SIDS is less common than it was 30 years ago, there’s barely been any change in the past decade. There’s still too many families experiencing this painful mystery.
“We’ve hit a plateau and if we’re going to get any farther, we need to better understand the factors that make children vulnerable. SIDS is still a mystery, and we need to apply science to try to explain it,” said Richard Goldstein, MD, lead author of the study and a pediatrician.
I pray this study is a dramatic step towards the decline of SIDS. No family should have to experience this nightmare. God bless these little angels.