SIDS Crib Death Factors

Crib Death (SIDS) From Toxic Gases in Mattresses

Factors That May Increase the Risk of Crib Death (SIDS)


If you have not read the first part of this article, Has The Cause of Crib Death (SIDS) Been Found?: Toxic Gases in Crib Mattresses, please read it first before continuing here.


A baby’s immature organs and other developing biological systems are particularly vulnerable to toxic contaminants (Mott 1997). All babies are susceptible to the toxic gases, but whether death, illness or just irritability occurs to a baby depends on certain other factors. As mentioned, face-down sleeping increases the risk of crib death (SIDS).

Other factors include:

Re-Used Mattresses

The risk of death increases when mattresses are re-used from one baby to the next (Tappin 2002). The fungus has already had a chance to establish itself in the used mattress. When the next baby uses the same mattress, the fungus is soon active. Toxic gas production begins sooner and is generated in greater volume. It is known that crib death rates increase markedly from the first baby in a family to the second, and from the second to the third, and so on (Mitchell 2001).

High Room Temperature and Overwrapping

Overheating is believed to play a role in SIDS (Wells 1997). High room temperature and overwrapping of the baby can cause an increased risk of death, since toxic gas generation is greatly increased when the temperature of the bedding is raised. A five or six degree Fahrenheit climb in temperature of the mattress and bedding can make the fungi more active and thus increase gas generation about 10-20 times (Richardson 1991). High room temperature, an overload of blankets, or overdressing babies can cause them to receive higher doses of the gases.

Infections and Decreased Immunity

During infections, the heat (fever) generated by the baby’s body increases the temperature of the bedding, which increases toxic gas generation. Heat stress (from infections and excessive room heat) is known to be a significant risk factor for SIDS (Guntheroth 2001). An infection can also lower a baby’s tolerance to any given concentration of gases. More than 90 percent of SIDS babies have had upper respiratory infections shortly before death (Smith and Hattersley 2000). A baby with a strong immune system will have fewer infections.

Inadequate Vitamin C

Over 30 years ago, Archie Kalokerinos, M.D., a doctor practicing in the outback of Australia, was able to eliminate the unusually high incidence of SIDS by giving babies injections of ascorbate (vitamin C). Dr. Kalokerinos found that vitamin C deficiency was an important factor in the many diseases of the infants, especially sudden infant death. His work was independently duplicated in the U.S. by Fred Klenner, M.D. in Reidsville, North Carolina (Kalokerinos 1981).

Submissions of this evidence and documented case studies were made to the medical authorities and SIDS experts, both in Australia and the U.S. This evidence was completely ignored and no clinical trials were recommended. Dr. Kalokerinos tells his story in Every Second Child, a book that demonstrates the reluctance of many doctors to accept new ideas (Kalokerinos 1981).

The systems of the body cannot function without adequate vitamin C. It’s been shown that many infants have marginal amounts in their bodies (Kalokerinos 1981). Any stress, including injury or illness, can increase the body’s need for vitamin C (Cathcart 1981). Under conditions such as vaccinations (Kalokerinos 1981, Pauling 1981), upper respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, malnutrition, and other viral and bacterial infections, the existing vitamin C can be completely used up, leaving the immune system unable to cope with any toxic threat to the body. This can leave a baby more vulnerable to the toxic gases in mattresses (Smith and Hattersley 2000).

Dr. Sprott explains another reason why administering vitamin C to a baby can lessen the chances of death from toxic gases. “The high alkaline pH of babies’ urine, dribble, perspiration, and vomit enables the fungus to grow and to generate the toxic gases rapidly. But consumption of vitamin C makes these bodily fluids acidic, reversing the alkalinity in the baby’s crib environment and preventing gas generation.” (Sprott 1996)


Vaccines are known to cause fevers in babies (CDC 2001). These fevers can increase generation of the gases, exposing babies to higher concentrations. In addition, vaccines can lead to the depletion of vitamin C in a baby’s body (Hattersley 1993 and Pauling 1981), and damage the developing nervous and immune systems. Vaccines have also been shown to cause stressed breathing (Scheibner 1993), weakened immunity, and neurological damage (Neustaedter 1996), which can lower the baby’s ability to tolerate a given concentration of toxic gases.

Many researchers, doctors, scientists, and parents believe that vaccines alone can cause SIDS. Indeed, vaccines do cause death, and vaccine deaths are often labeled as SIDS cases. As Dawn Winkler, former Vice President of Concerned Parents for Vaccine Safety, points out, “The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has even compensated 93 families whose infants’ deaths were labeled SIDS because the parent had the evidence in the autopsy to prove the vaccine caused it. Yet, the cause of death listing as “SIDS” was never changed on the death certificates of these 93 babies.” (Winkler 2000)

Many “SIDS” parents have told the same story. Their previously healthy babies were not the same from the time they were vaccinated until they died. A high-pitched scream, excessive sleeping, poor appetite, and troubled breathing were common. At the time of death, no one investigates whether these babies could have died directly from the vaccines alone or if vaccine damage may have lowered the babies’ capacity to withstand the toxic gases in their mattresses. No one investigates this because our government and the medical community deny that vaccines or toxic gases could be causes of death. Instead they label these deaths as SIDS and maintain that they do not know the cause. They refuse to accept the research that has already been done in both of these areas and remain steadfast in their commitment to deny any further research. Health officials continually refer to vaccine manufacturer-sponsored studies reporting no relationship between vaccines and SIDS. Some of these studies have been strongly criticized (Coulter 1996) and called into question because of potential biases that underestimate the risk of SIDS from vaccines (Fine 1992).

The assumption that SIDS is vaccine-related could very well be accurate. It may be that vaccines are an indirect factor in SIDS cases, and may even be the deciding factor that could cause a baby to succumb to the toxic gases. Perhaps some or even many SIDS babies may have survived the toxic insult of the gases were it not for vaccinations.

Unfortunately, we have to leave this to speculation since this is not studied. But what we do know is that not one baby has died sleeping on a properly wrapped mattress. Many of the babies sleeping on wrapped mattresses were vaccinated, but none of them were exposed to the gases. Vaccination rates among the Pakeha (non-Maori) people in New Zealand, who have enthusiastically adopted mattress-wrapping, are very high. These people now have the lowest crib death rate in the world. The crib death rate is about seven times higher among Maori babies in New Zealand, who have not adopted mattress-wrapping and who are vaccinated far less than the Pakeha.

In Victory Over Crib Death, Lendon H. Smith, MD and Joseph G. Hattersley, MA astutely point out, “If vaccinations directly caused crib death, the proportions would be reversed.” The article Victory Over Crib Death is a summary of Smith’s and Hattersley’s book, The Infant Survival Guide: Protecting Your Baby From the Dangers of Crib Death, Vaccines and Other Environmental Hazards. This book is considered by some to be a definitive guide to ending the terrible tragedy of crib death and proposes a new paradigm; that toxic gases are the single cause of nearly all crib deaths. In addition to advocating mattress-wrapping, the authors strongly recommend against vaccinations.


Use the information provided here as an educational resource for determining your options and making your own informed choices. Healthy Child does NOT make ANY claims that using a non-toxic mattress or wrapping a mattress will prevent SIDS since this has not been 100% scientifically proven. However, the fact that there have been no SIDS deaths among the vast number of babies in New Zealand who have slept on correctly wrapped mattresses is crucial information for parents. We believe that parents should be informed so they can make their own decisions on how to protect their babies.


Cathcart, Robert F. III, M.D. 1981. Vitamin C, Titrating to Bowel Tolerance, Anascorbemia, and Acute Induced Scurvy. Medical Hypotheses, 7:1359-1376.

Center for Disease Control (CDC). 2001. Vaccine Side Effects.

Coulter, Harris. 1996. Vaccination Debate: Do Vaccines Cause Cot Deaths? Center For Empirical Medicine.

Fine, P.E., VMD and Chen, R.T., MD. 1992. Confounding in Studies of Adverse Reactions to Vaccines. American Journal of Epidemiology, July 15, 1992; 136(2):121-135.

Guntheroth, W.G.and Spiers, P.S. 2001. Thermal Stress in Sudden Infant Death. Pediatrics. Apr; 107(4): 693-8.

Hattersley, Joseph. 1993. The Answer to Crib Death “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” (SIDS). Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Volume 8, Number 4, 1993, pp.229-245

Kalokerinos, Archie, M.D. 1981. Every Second Child. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing.

Mitchell, P.R. 2001. Analysis of Official UK Statistics for Cot Deaths and Infant Deaths by Other Causes, 1996-1999.

Mott, L. 1997. Our Children at Risk: The Five Worst Environmental Threats to Their Health, Natural Resources Defense Council, November 1997

Neustaedter, Randall, OMD. 1996. The Vaccine Guide: Making An Informed Choice. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Pauling, Linus. 1981. Foreword to Every Second Child by Kalokerinos. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing.

Richardson, B.A. 1991. Cot Death: Must Babies Still Die? November 1991

Scheibner, Viera. 1993. Vaccination: The Medical Assault on the Immune System. Blackheath, NSW Australia: V. Scheibner.

Smith, Lendon H., M.D., and Joseph Hattersley. 2000. The Infant Survival Guide: Protecting Your Baby From the Dangers of Crib Death, Vaccines and Other Environmental Hazards. Petaluma, CA: Smart Publications.

Smith, Lendon H., M.D., and Joseph Hattersley. 2000. Victory Over Crib Death. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. Aug/Sept.

Sprott, T.J. 1996. The Cot Death Cover-Up? Auckland, New Zealand: Penguin Books.

Tappin et al, Used infant mattresses and sudden infant death syndrome in Scotland: case-control study, British Medical Journal 2002; 325:1007

Wells, J.C. 1997. Can Risk Factors for Over-Heating Explain Epidemiological Features of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome? Med Hypotheses. Feb; 48(2):103-6.

Winkler, Dawn. 2000. SIDS – Do Vaccines Play a Role? eHealthy News You Can Use – November 19 – Issue 180.



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