| Why I Produced Sleep-Safe Anti-Suffocation Pillows
By Don Alderton
a Member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society
After I qualified as a pharmacist, and my wife as a health visitor
I developed Sleep-Safe pillows because our son's seizures were making us desperately concerned about his safety while he slept. During the convulsions his breathing became spasmodic and laboured, for brief periods he would cease breathing entirely and he would contort terribly. On several occasions we found him forcefully wedged into his pillow, and we feared very much that if he became tightly entrapped during a sleep seizure he would suffer brain injury or even die due to lack of oxygen. We could minimise sheets and blankets, but all standard domestic pillows seemed fundamentally unsafe.
In the UK, each year, epilepsy alone results in about 1,100 deaths and 44,000 emergency hospital admissions, and most of these are sudden and unexpected and occur usually at night. 1, 2
Each emergency admission lasts about 4 days, and in most cases no imaging, neurophysiological or neuropsychological procedures take place1. Many emergency admissions may be `panic responses' due to deep anxiety about brain injury that may have resulted.
For people with epilepsy, the likelihood of an early death is two or three times more likely than for people in the general population. Epilepsy is more prevalent among people with learning disabilities, and in the country-regionplaceUK age 60+ the most common time of life for the onset of seizures, resulting from strokes, dementia, diabetes, falls and brain tumours. Worldwide, in general, the proportion of the population affected by epilepsy is much the same as in the country-regionplaceUK - about 1 person in every 140.
Although epilepsy related deaths have been researched, no research has been conducted into the total deaths from all causes of seizures and convulsions, for example, diabetes, stroke and head injuries, so the overall figures could be very much greater.
The benefits of Sleep-Safe anti-suffocation pillows go beyond helping to prevent the death or injury of the person who is actually affected by seizures. Sleep-Safe pillows also provide reassurance to parents and carers by breaking the cycle of fear that can result in disturbed sleep patterns, anxiety and depression, often leading to a profound deterioration in the quality of life for the entire family.
Sometimes, there certainly is a place for electronic alarms and monitors, however, these require carer intervention when activated and are expected to function with 100% certainty for 100% of the time. Sleep-Safe pillows don't require carer intervention in order to “work properly” - they are designed to help prevent fatal suffocation events during sleep seizures occurring in domestic or care settings where 24-hour continuous monitoring is not entirely feasible. This means that Sleep-Safe also help to reduce greatly the “carer anxiety” of sleep seizures - the fear of the consequences of suffocation - helping to put carers and patients back in control of their lives by relieving a significant cause of family stress. As a result, management of the underlying medical condition becomes much less demanding.
Sleep-Safe pillows have been tested at a leading UK University which specialises in respiratory physiology. The tests compared the 'breathability' of a range of domestic pillows, and established that only Sleep-Safe pillows - because of their very high breathability - would deliver benefits for adults and children with medical conditions where there is a risk of suffocation and breathing difficulties.
This evidence has been accepted by the UK Government's Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency which has registered Sleep-Safe pillows as a Class I Medical Device. Also, in an extremely rare decision, the UK Customs & Excise has given written authority for Sleep-Safe pillows to be supplied VAT-free to eligible personal purchasers and charities. It's almost unheard of for the Government to stop collecting a tax, which will give you some idea of the quality of evidence that had to be presented in order to obtain this VAT concession.