More Variation in SIDS Risk Factors in Back-to-Sleep Era

Since campaign kickoff, fewer SIDS infants found prone; almost all had at least one risk factor

MONDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Following initiation of the Back-to-Sleep (BTS) campaign in 1994, there have been variations in the risk profile of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to a study published online March 26 in Pediatrics.

Felicia L. Trachtenberg, Ph.D., from the New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Mass., and colleagues investigated the intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors for SIDS following initiation of the BTS campaign, using data from the San Diego SIDS/Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Research Project for 568 SIDS deaths from 1991 to 2008.

The researchers found that, from 1991-1993 to 1996-2008, there was a significant decrease in the percentage of SIDS infants found prone, and also in the percentage with upper respiratory tract infections. During this time there was a significant increase in the proportion of SIDS infants found bed-sharing, especially among infants younger than 2 months, and in the prematurity rate (P = 0.05). At least one risk factor was seen in 99 percent of SIDS infants; 57 percent had at least two extrinsic and one intrinsic risk factor. Only 5 percent of SIDS infants had no extrinsic risk factor. Following initiation of the BTS campaign, there was no change in the average number of risk factors per SIDS infant.

"SIDS infants in the BTS era show more variation in risk factors," the authors write. "Risk reduction campaigns emphasizing the importance of avoiding multiple and simultaneous SIDS risks are essential to prevent SIDS, including among infants who may already be vulnerable."

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