Results from the first year of the New Zealand cot death study

N Z Med J. 1991 Feb 27;104(906):71-6.


New Zealand's high mortality rate from the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) prompted the development of the New Zealand cot death study. This report of the preliminary analysis of the first year of the data gives the major identified risk factors. One hundred and sixty-two infants who died from SIDS were compared with 589 control infants, who were a representative sample of all hospital births in the study region. Obstetric records were examined and parental interviews were completed in 96% and 89% of subjects respectively. Data were available for all the variables in this study in 95% of those interviewed, thus 128 cases and 503 controls make up the subjects of this report. As expected we confirmed many risk factors for SIDS including: lower socioeconomic status, unmarried mother, young mother, younger school leaving age of mother, younger age of mother at first pregnancy, late attendance at antenatal clinic, nonattendant at antenatal classes, Maori, greater number of previous pregnancies, lower birth weight, shorter gestation, male infant, admission to neonatal intensive care unit. In addition, however, we identified three risk factors which are potentially amenable to modification. These were the prone sleeping position of baby (odds ratio = 3.53, 95% confidence interval 2.26, 5.54), maternal smoking (1-9 cigarettes/day OR = 1.87, 95% CI = 0.98, 3.54; 10-19/day OR = 2.64, 95% CI = 1.47, 4.74; 20+/day OR = 5.06, 95% CI = 2.86, 8.95) and breast feeding (OR = 2.93, 95% CI = 1.84, 4.67).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Breast Feeding
  • Cause of Death*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Pronation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sudden Infant Death / epidemiology
  • Sudden Infant Death / etiology*
  • Sudden Infant Death / pathology
  • Sudden Infant Death / prevention & control
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution