The incidence of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS, could be significantly lowered by taking simple precautions say researchers according to a recent study.
Researchers conducted studies in 20 centers in Europe, looking at 60 variables from the medical records of 745 SIDS cases and 2,411 healthy infants to identify risks for SIDS.
About 48 percent of all the SIDS cases were attributed to sleeping in the side or prone position. Around 16 percent of the cases were caused by bed-sharing. Infants were also more likely to succumb to SIDS if bedding had covered their heads or if they slept with a mother who smoked or drank alcohol, especially in the first two weeks of life. However, among mothers who did not smoke during pregnancy, the risk associated with bed-sharing was significant only in infants younger than 8 weeks.
Interestingly, about 36 percent of the SIDS cases were attributed to the baby sleeping in a separate room from the parents. On average, babies who died of SIDS were put to bed in a separate room 26 days earlier than those who did not. The investigators say they are not sure why sleeping in a separate room would increase the risk for SIDS.
Thus researchers conclude that avoidable risk factors such as those associated with inappropriate infants' sleeping position, type of bedding used, and sleeping arrangements strongly suggest a basis for further substantial reductions in SIDS incidence rates.