Infants who died showing the syndrome of sudden infant death (SIDS) and infants who survived attacks of lifelessness (AL) were examined in a prospective epidemiological multicentre study over 24 months covering close to 40% of all births in Sweden. Seventy SIDS cases and 34 cases of AL were observed, giving an incidence for SIDS of 0.94/1000 and for AL of 0.46/1000. This SIDS incidence is higher than that observed during the seventies. The boy/girl ratio was 1.4:1 for SIDS and 1.6:1 for AL. The age distribution for AL resembled that for SIDS. Similarities were also seen with regard to place of occurrence. Sixty per cent of the SIDS cases occurred during the daytime/evening. Twenty-nine per cent of the infants with AL had more than one apneic spell during the three-day-period around the attack, indicating a period of respiratory instability, but only 12% had such spells later on. None of the infants who had had AL died from SIDS. The possible relationship between AL and SIDS is discussed.