December 23, 2010

SIDS Rates Skyrocket On New Year’s

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- It was reported that an average of 7,000 babies die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) every year.  What's more, the number of infants who die of SIDS surges by 33 percent on New Year's Day.  How could that be you ask?  Well, the suspected reason is actually the alcohol consumption by caretakers the night before.

Researchers looked at 129,090 SIDS cases from 1973 to 2006 by means of three multiyear nationwide datasets: computerized death certificates, the linked birth and infant death dataset, and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.  Since 1994 "“ with the implementation of the "Back to Sleep" campaign "“ SIDS has decreased significantly, which urges caregivers to lay the child on their back when putting them to sleep.

David Phillips of the University of California, San Diego, and lead author of the study, along with coauthors came across three distinctive forms of evidence linking SIDS to alcohol.  In addition to rising, identical to alcohol consumption, more on New Year's than at any other day of the year, SIDS and alcohol consumption increase drastically every weekend.  In due course, the SIDS death rate is unusually high for children of alcohol-consuming mothers: Babies of mothers who drink are more than twice as likely to die of SIDS.

It's not just alcohol either, in fact a rise in SIDS just after April 20 (4/20), a counterculture celebration of cannabis, and after July 4, which is commonly recognized as an inebriated time, though the rise on neither of these dates is as dramatic as on New Year's.

The authors additionally looked to see what exactly occurs during the autumn shift to daylight savings.  This was done in an effort to see if parental sleeping-in might be at fault, rather than mere intoxication itself, since an extra hour has been added to the day; nonetheless, there was no rise in SIDS.

The authors recognize imperative limitations to the existing study.  The vast datasets contain exceedingly small amounts of information per case, Phillips said, so "we could not specify the detailed mechanisms and cannot determine whether alcohol is an independent risk factor for SIDS, a risk factor only in conjunction with other factors or a proxy for risks associated with occasions when consumption increases."

Alcohol consumption cannot be the definitive cause of SIDS, but the connections are concerning, which worries authors that parents may not be as good at parenting "“ following the "Back to Sleep" recommendations "“ when they are drinking.
"We know that when people are under the influence of alcohol their judgments are impaired and they are not as good at performing tasks. This would include caretaking," Phillips added.

Further studies still need to be done, but it is not irrational to suggest that SIDS investigations "“ with the information gained from the study "“ inquire regarding the current alcohol consumption of the infant's caretakers, and that pediatricians recommend recent parents that alcohol utterly impairs their abilities and may jeopardize their child's life.

"The 'Back to Sleep' campaign was largely successful," the authors conclude.  "A similar campaign might now be implemented: There should be increased efforts to inform caretakers that alcohol impairs parental capacity and might be a risk factor for SIDS."

SOURCE: Addiction, December 2010