Friday, January 18, 2013

Scientific Breakthrough: Family Dog Helps Prevent SIDS


Associated Press (AP) – World-renowned researchers at the Goddard Family Medical Group uncovered yesterday an important discovery in SIDS prevention:  the family dog.

Known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS is still a medical mystery.  A healthy baby will suddenly die in his sleep for no apparent reason.  Although SIDS is rare, it is one of the most common causes of death in babies between 1 and 12 months of age.  Most babies who die of SIDS are between the ages of 2 and 4 months.  The condition is also known as “crib death,” for it seems to strike when an infant has been sleeping in his own bed and in his own bedroom.

But, now there is hope.  In a press release issued late yesterday afternoon, the Goddard Family Medical Group presented their new finding in how the family canine companion can help combat the possibility of SIDS.

Researchers are studying the possibility that SIDS may be caused by problems with how well the brain controls breathing during the first few months of life.  Clinical studies have revealed that babies who sleep in the same room as the parents are less likely to experience SIDS, presumably because they subconsciously hear and emulate their parents’ breathing patterns throughout the night.

As a result, new parents Michael and Lisa Goddard kept their 4-month old Liam in a bassinet (and later a Pack-N-Play) beside their bed.

“We felt that sleeping in our room was the only safe option for Liam,” said Michael.  

“We had this beautiful crib in the Nursery, yet I was too afraid to use it,” admitted his wife Lisa.

Each time the discussion arose about moving Liam to the crib in the Nursery, Lisa quoted articles from, the Mayo Clinic, and  All sources indicated that Liam needed to sleep where he could hear regular breathing patterns.  Therefore, it simply had to be their bedroom.

But, as Lisa continued to read recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, both she and her husband were so focused on the topic that they neglected to notice how their golden retriever Macy was trying to push her way into the conversation.

“She’d wag her tail and put her head onto my lap,” noticed Michael.  “But we ignored her.  We figured she just wanted a treat or a walk around the neighborhood.  As the weeks passed, though, we did begin to notice that she always became a pest when Lisa and I were discussing this important topic of SIDS.  It was as if she had something to say on the matter.”

Finally, yesterday, the couple listened to her.

“I snore very loudly,” admitted golden retriever Macy.  “Just put my dog bed beside the crib in the Nursery, and Liam’s golden.  No pun intended.”

It was an option that the new parents had never even considered!

As the happy couple prepared their child for bed last evening, only a few members of the press were allowed inside their home.  Witnesses say the dog got into her new sleeping place well before the lights went out, certainly aware of her critical role.  One reporter was specifically interested in interviewing the child.

“I thought you'd never ask!” said 4-month old Liam, surprising everyone.  “This is great.  Now I’m not afraid to sleep in my own room because I’ve got my dog with me.  And she is quite a noisy breather!”

Following this press release, dog adoption centers across the nation are preparing for a massive influx of adoption applications, beginning this morning at sunrise.  One local branch of the SPCA is doubling the amount of staff members that report to work on Friday, in anticipation of the crowds (which will certainly come with babies in strollers).

"Dogs that snore loudly will be particularly sought after," said James P. Crowley, Executive Secretary of the American Kennel Club.  "What was once considered a negative trait has now become one of the canine's best."

More details about this new medical breakthrough will be available in the February 2012 edition of  The New England Journal of Medicine and online at