To the Editor.—I refer to the article by J. W. French on "Infant Monkeys—A Model for Crib Death" (123:480-484, 1972) in which the dive reflex is discussed.
This reflex could be elicited in the human infant, if when placed in the prone position a pool of saliva collected about the nares and submerged the nostrils.
It is usually accepted that infants begin to secrete saliva in amounts greater than they can swallow, and therefore drool, at about age 2 months.
The young infant has the infantile fluid swallow. At about 5 months the more efficient type of adult swallow begins to appear. This enables the baby to cope better with his excess saliva.
I think it significant in this connection that incidence of SIDS occurs mainly from 2 to 5 months of age. Physiological resorptive degeneration of the left bundle of His occurring in the first year would tend