Risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome in the US Collaborative Perinatal Project

Int J Epidemiol. 1989 Mar;18(1):113-20. doi: 10.1093/ije/18.1.113.


Risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) were studied among infants born to the nearly 56,000 women enrolled in the US Collaborative Perinatal Project from 1959 through 1966. The 193 SIDS cases identified in the cohort were compared with 1930 controls randomly selected from infants who survived the first year of life. The previously documented excess risk associated with black race disappeared after adjusting for maternal education and family income. Maternal smoking, maternal anaemia during pregnancy, and lack of early prenatal care were all positively associated with SIDS. After adjustment for gestational age, infants with low weight and length at birth were still at increased SIDS risk, suggesting that intrauterine growth retardation may be a risk factor. Neurological abnormalities diagnosed before death were associated with SIDS, but much of the association was removed by adjusting for birthweight. The negative association of breastfeeding with SIDS was much reduced upon adjustment by maternal education and birthweight. These findings may have important implications in our understanding of the epidemiology of SIDS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sudden Infant Death / etiology*
  • Time Factors
  • United States