Infant Sleeping Position and the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in California, 1997–2000


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Abstract

To assess the association between infant sleeping position and risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in an ethnically diverse US population, the authors conducted a population-based case-control study in 11 counties in California from May 1997 through April 2000. The authors conducted in-person interviews with the mothers of 185 SIDS cases and 312 randomly selected race/ethnicity- and age-matched controls to collect information on sleeping positions. Infants who had last been put down to sleep in the prone or side position were at greater risk of SIDS than were infants who had last been put down on their backs (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=2.6 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.5, 4.5) and AOR=2.0 (95% CI: 1.2, 3.4) for the prone and side positions, respectively). The risk of SIDS was especially high for an unstable side position in which an infant was placed on its side and found prone (AOR=8.7, 95% CI: 3.3, 22.7). Infants who were usually placed on their backs to sleep but had last been put down in the prone or side position (an unaccustomed position) had a significantly high risk of SIDS (AOR=8.2 (95% CI: 2.6, 26.0) and AOR=6.9 (95% CI: 2.3, 20.6) for the prone and side positions, respectively). Infants placed in an unaccustomed prone or side sleeping position had a higher risk of SIDS than infants who were always placed prone or on the side.

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