SIDS and Nitrates

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SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) & Nitrates

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Facts:

  • SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age.
  • African American children are two to three times more likely than Caucasian babies to die of SIDS.
  • Native American babies are about three times more susceptible.
  • More boys are SIDS victims than girls.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is defined as the sudden death of an infant under one year of age that remains unexplained after a complete investigation, which includes an autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the symptoms or illnesses the infant had prior to dying and any other pertinent medical history.

“Pregnant Women, Infants Must Avoid Contaminated Water. Bottled Water Only Safe Choice” stated a newspaper in our area, but this problem is a common occurrence all over the United States.

So, why should pregnant women avoid drinking this particular water? Because, it has been contaminated with nitrates. Nitrates are associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in children, and pregnant women and families with infants should avoid drinking tap water when the nitrate levels are in excess of Federal EPA standards (10 parts per million.)

Nitrate poisoning symptoms can develop within days of drinking affected water. Nitrates affect the red blood cells by disrupting oxygen availability which leads to blue baby syndrome.

Can’t I boil it to be safe, you ask? Boiling the water will not reduce the nitrate level. This is one of those contaminants that needs to be filtered out with a good whole-house water system or reverse osmosis filter.

Where do we get the nitrates? Nitrates leach into the soil through the application of manure or ammonia fertilizers applied to the farmer’s fields and from runoff of fecal material coming from feedlots and leaching into our septic tanks. When green plants can’t take up the amount of fertilizers applied, the excess runs off and enters our water system.

One study found that 9% of all wells in the United States had detectable nitrates in the water. Nitrates are high in all farm areas, especially in the spring to early summer and then again in the fall, so having your water tested during these times is really important. Many water filter companies do this free of charge. You can also call your local health department for a referral.

Other factors associated with SIDS include: babies sleeping on their stomachs instead of their backs, smoking mothers or babies being exposed to second-hand smoke, premature or low birth weight babies, and mother’s under the age of 20 giving birth to their first baby.

Shouldn’t you do everything possible to protect yourself and your baby? Get your water checked and do what it takes to keep contaminants as dangerous as nitrates out.

Helpful Links and References for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS):