Researchers: Majority of sudden infant deaths preventable

May 9, 2012

Columbia, MO – From 2005 to 2008, infants were not sleeping in a crib and were not on their back in at least 70 percent of sudden unexpected infant deaths, according to a new study from the University of Missouri.

Researchers reviewed infant death data from the National Child Death Review Case Reporting System for nine states and found that only one-fourth of infants who died from SUID were sleeping in the recommended position or surface, which according to the report is on their backs on a “firm crib mattress without soft bedding or other objects” present.

Among other findings:

  • 64 percent of SUIDs occurred when an infant was sleeping on the same surface as another infant, animal or adult.
  • About 57 percent of SUIDs occurred among male infants.
  • The majority of SUID cases occurred among Caucasian infants (43.7 percent), followed by black, non-Hispanic infants (31.6 percent).

Researchers concluded that preventable environmental risk factors make up a “large proportion” of SUIDs, and should be a focus of infant fatality prevention campaigns, according to a study abstract.