Thermal Stress, Sleeping Position, and the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sleep. 1996 Dec;19(10 Suppl):S267-70.


We review the evidence than overheating or disordered thermoregulation may be responsible for some cases of the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Possible mechanisms for an interaction of thermal stress and the prone position are discussed with an emphasis on heat production and loss via the infant head. After the reduction in the prevalence of the prone position following "Back to Sleep" campaigns, and the emergence of cigarette smoking as a key risk factor, the role of disordered thermoregulation continues to be important in many cases of SIDS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bedding and Linens
  • Body Temperature Regulation*
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Prone Position*
  • Seasons
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Sudden Infant Death / etiology*