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J Paediatr Child Health. 1991 Dec;27(6):344-8.

A review of epidemiological studies of sudden infant death syndrome in southern New Zealand.

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Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Otago Medical School, Dunedin, New Zealand.


The rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in Southern New Zealand has been very high with an apparent real increase in incidence from the early 1970s. Recent research is reviewed and the results of specific interventions aimed at preventing SIDS summarized. The intervention consisted of strongly advising new parents that their babies sleep on their back or side and that they avoid over-heating, especially during infections. For the Otago area, child-care practice has been documented and prone sleeping of 1 month old babies has declined from 41.8% in 1986 to 2.4% in 1989-90. There is also evidence that parental control of infants' thermal environment has improved, maternal smoking during pregnancy has slightly decreased and the number of babies breast fed at 1 month of age has increased by 11%. In Southern NZ there has been a decline in post-neonatal SIDS mortality from 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births 1979-84 to 1.3 per 1000 live births in 1990. There are grounds for supposing that the intervention has been causative of this change, a possibility being addressed by on-going studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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