OK, first, let’s start off by saying that contrary to some of the rumors, the AAP did not just suggest that circumcision should be done on boys. It was more like, “Well, make up your own minds, but we no longer oppose it because we can see some benefit, but anesthetic should be used because it’s painful.”
But… and here’s the real butt, how can anyone say that the benefits outweigh the risks?
Do they not realize that that’s about the same number of neonates that die of SIDS? Yup around 100 babies die from SIDS in the US during their first twenty eight days of life. I’ve been a new mom twice before, and the worry over SIDS was a real concern. The doctor discussed it right off the bat, educated me about it, made sure I understood how crucial it was that I lay my children on their backs at night. “Back to Sleep,” the slogan was repeated over and over. I received a “Back to Sleep” hand out flyer at every appointment that first month.
The National Institute of Health makes a big deal out of the “Back to Sleep” campaign. In fact, that campaign boasts reducing the SIDS death rate by about 50 percent. You could use that as an argument for why neonatal SIDS death is more worrisome than neonatal circumcision death. Because there used to be double the amount, right?
Well, sure, but consider this. Circumcision isn’t allowed on girls anymore. So, really, only half of our neonates even are even allowed to be circumcised anymore. Compound that with the fact that all of our neonates in theory are susceptible to SIDS, while only the ones that are circumcised are susceptible to death by circumcision, and I guess one could safely say that risks of a circumcised infant dying from his circumcision are way higher than the risks that he will die from SIDS within 28 days. (Stats from the CDC estimate that somewhere around half of our infant boys are getting their foreskin removed these days.)
If around 100 of all US neonates die of SIDS each year, we kind of need to apply circumcision to all US neonates to really be able to compare risk. Let me show you what I mean.
So, around 100 US neonatal boys die from their circumcisions, right? (And that’s a LOW estimate) But only around half of our neonates get circumcised, because for the other half that don’t have penises, circumcision’s considered a civil rights violation and federally prohibited… So, if they ALL had penises, that number should statistically increase to about 200 neonates killed. But for those neonates that are male, only around half of them get circumcised according to the CDC. So, if our neonates were all boys and were all circumcised, the number would be more like 400 brand new boys left dead per year because of their circumcisions.
Then, very roughly, if all babies were boys and all babies were circumcised, a baby would be approximately four times more likely to die during that first month from his circumcision than he would be from SIDS.
Shouldn’t we be seeing like four times as many “Keep Baby Intact” flyers as we do “Back to Sleep” flyers at our early meet-the-pediatrician visit?
Here’s my question for all the brand new parents out there: At your child’s pediatricians office, how many “Keep Baby Intact” flyers did YOU see?