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Addiction. 2011 Mar;106(3):516-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03199.x. Epub 2010 Nov 9.

Alcohol as a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Author information

1
Department of Sociology, University of California, San Diego, 92093-0533, USA. dphillips@ucsd.edu

Abstract

AIM:

To test whether alcohol is a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

DESIGN AND SETTING:

US epidemiological study using computerized death certificates, linked birth and infant death dataset, and Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

PARTICIPANTS:

All SIDS cases (n = 129,090) and other infant deaths (n = 295,151) from 1973-2006; all persons involved in late-night alcohol-related crashes (n = 135,946) from 1994-2008.

MEASUREMENTS:

Three measures were used: the expected number of deaths on New Year versus the observed number (expected values were determined using a locally weighted scatterplot smoothing polynomial), the average number of weekend deaths versus the average number of weekday deaths, and the SIDS death rate for children of alcohol-consuming versus non-alcohol-consuming mothers.

FINDINGS:

These measures indicate that the largest spikes in alcohol consumption and in SIDS (33%) occur on New Year, alcohol consumption and SIDS increase significantly on weekends, and children of alcohol-consuming mothers are much more likely to die from SIDS than are children of non-alcohol-consuming mothers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Alcohol consumption appears to be a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome, although it is unclear whether alcohol is an independent risk factor, a risk factor only in conjunction with other known risk factors (like co-sleeping), or a proxy for other risk factors associated with occasions when alcohol consumption increases (like smoking). Our findings suggest that caretakers and authorities should be informed that alcohol impairs parental capacity and might be a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome; in addition, future research should further explore possible connections between sudden infant death syndrome and alcohol.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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