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Eur J Epidemiol. 2000 Mar;16(3):281-6.

Sleep position, bedding and heating practices in high- and low-risk ethnic groups for unexpected death in infancy (UDI).

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The Jacobo Lichtman Apnea Investigation Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.


In a previous study, a significant increased risk for unexpected death in infancy (UDI) among Arab infants as compared to Jews (RR: 5.2) was found. The incidence has significantly decreased in both groups during the 'back to sleep' campaign. The objective of this study was to compare the prevalence of three risk factors, i.e. positioning, night dressing/covering and heating practices in these ethnic groups. A community sampling procedure was employed, resulting in the participation of 264 Jewish and 146 Arab mothers of infants between 1 and 4 months, born at term and with no chronic illness at the time of the study. A questionnaire in Arabic and Hebrew was designed, pertaining to sleep positioning at the time of the study and of the previous infant, prior to the SIDS prevention campaign, as well as clothing and heating practices. Significantly, more Arab infants were put to sleep in a supine or side position as compared to Jewish infants both during the study (p = 0.002) as well as prior to the SIDS campaign (p = 0.001). No ethnic difference was related to clothing practices. Open heating, however, was significantly more common in the Arab sector (p = 0.001). A logistic procedure for each of the practices indicated that ethnicity is related significantly to both sleep position (p = 0.002) and beating practices (p = 0.001). Prone sleep positioning was still prevalent (32.2%) more so among Jews (35.2%) than Arabs (27%).


Sleep positioning and overdressing do not appear to be the major attributable risk factors for UDI among Arab infants as compared to Jews. The compliance with positioning recommendations is lower than expected in both ethnic groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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