This is the biggest reason for new parents to drink responsibly on New Year’s Eve.
Once you become a parent, you realize that those days of partying and staying out all night are pretty much over. Except maybe on special occasions, like New Year’s Eve. But if you have a little baby at home, you might want to think about drinking in moderation on Friday night. A new study suggests that parents’ alcohol consumption may be linked to an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) — a 33 percent spike in the number of SIDS cases occurs on New Year’s Day! Can you believe it?
According to a study in the journal Addiction, researchers correlated heavy drinking with the percent raise, illustrating that alcohol may be what is causing the increased number of SIDS deaths on Januar 1. They also discovered that there are more cases of sudden infant deaths on the weekend rather than the weekdays. “The message to parents is that they should understand that just as alcohol degrades your performance in other types of tasks, it also may affect your ability to take care of young children,” the study’s lead author, David P. Phillips, a professor at the University of California in San Diego, tells MSNBC. David says that parents who have had a little too much to drink may not pay as much attention to how they put their infants to bed — meaning they lay them on their stomachs rather than their backs. To prevent SIDS, it’s recommended that parents lay their babies down on their backs.
Another risk of SIDS is when a parent sleeps with their child. When a guardian has been drinking, they are more likely to roll over, uncontrollably, in their sleep possibly hurting the child. David believes that if a baby is in the same bed as their parent after a heavy night of drinking, the infant could possibly be injured.
A leading SIDS expert, Dr. Warren Guntheroth, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, says that both alcohol consumption and bed sharing are the cause of SIDS deaths. But he also reveals that it’s not always the parents’ fault, especially on New Year’s Eve when there are babysitters involved. “I don’t think you can blame it all on [parental] drinking,” he added. “You might also ask about the babysitter. Was she drinking?”
Dr. Raymond Pitetti, the associate director of emergency medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says that the relationship between alcohol and SIDS comes as no surprise. “Every New Year’s Day, inevitably, kids come in to the E.R. because of something related to their parents’ drinking, whether it’s a car accident or the kids drinking alcohol in the morning that their parents hadn’t put away from a party the night before,” Dr. Pitetti says. “It’s fine to go out to New Year’s Eve parties, but make sure your kids are safe. If you’re going to go out to have a good time and drink that’s fine, but make sure there’s someone else at home to take care of the kids, a grandparent or what have you. You have to realize that just as you can’t drive a car when you’re drunk, you can’t parent effectively when you drink.”