SIDS death risk rises by 33% on New Year’s Day, study says

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Find out why New Year's Day poses a higher risk for SIDS - plus know the risk factors and prevention tips to ensure your baby's safety while he sleeps!

A 2010 study has found that the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, increases by 33 percent on New Year’s Day. This finding is based on 129,090 SIDS cases from 1973 to 2006.

Why the dramatic rise in number of cases? Researchers suspect alcohol consumption by parents and caretakers on New Year’s Eve as the reason.

While more research has yet to be done on the link between SIDS and alcohol, the study concludes that alcohol appears to be a risk factor for SIDS since it diminishes parental capacity. For instance, under the influence of alcohol, parents may forget to put baby to sleep on his back, which may increase risk of SIDS since sleeping on his stomach or side may cause difficulty breathing.

However, researchers have yet to determine whether alcohol is an independent risk factor, a risk factor when combined with other known risk factors (e.g. forgetting to put baby to sleep on his back), or a proxy for risk factors associated with increased alcohol consumption (e.g. smoking).

What Causes SIDS?

The lack of findings on immediate causes or warning signs of SIDS is what makes it so frightening and devastating.

No one knows for sure what causes SIDS. What we do know, however, is that SIDS victims stop breathing and lack the ability to alert themselves to start breathing again.

Even with years of research given to find more about SIDS, there are still no easy answers when it comes to clearly identifying symptoms. Although the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, certain risk factors have been identified:

  • SIDS is most prevalent in babies between the ages of two and four months, but that there are more than a few cases each year in babies up to one year of age
  • Sex may be a factor as 3 out of 5 victims are boys
  • Babies born with underlying vulnerabilities and abnormalities (like brain and heart abnormalities and respiratory infections)
  • Babies exposed to certain stressors (such as sleeping tummy-down or on too soft bedding)
  • Babies born prematurely or at a very low birth weight
  • Babies born to mothers who are under the age of 20
  • Babies who have suffered an apparent life-threatening event (e.g. babies who have turned pale and required resuscitation)
  • Babies whose mothers smoked, drank alcohol, and consumed drugs during their pregnancy
  • Babies with prolonged tobacco smoke exposure even after birth
  • Babies who receive poor prenatal care

Continue reading to find out how parents can help lower the risk of SIDS…

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