Fall in infant deaths due to position – study

NZ Herald / Reuters July 25, 2007
A continuing decline in the number of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) cases is likely due to parents placing infants on their backs before bed, according to New Zealand research. Researchers from Auckland University reported there had been an initial drop in the number of cases after parents were urged to avoid placing their infants face down to sleep. The research suggested that the continuing decline was due to a further change from the side to back positioning of infants before bed. There was an initial 50 per cent fall in SIDS rates from the mid-1980s to 1993, at which time almost all infants were no longer placed on their stomachs to sleep.Dr Edwin Mitchell and colleagues from Auckland University hypothesised that the continued decline was because fewer infants are being placed on their side to sleep. The researchers sent a questionnaire in April-May 2005 to a random sample of 400 mothers who had delivered infants at the National Women’s Hospital in Auckland. They were asked which position they put their baby to sleep in the previous night. The findings are published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.