Infant deaths from SIDS surges on New Year’s Day, new study finds

Babies who die from SIDS are 33% more likely to die on New Year’s Day than any other day of the year, a new study finds. Researchers say alcohol use the night before by parents or caretakers may play a role in SIDS deaths.

The study from UC San Diego examined 129,090 cases of SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, between 1973 and 2006 by using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. It suggests that caregivers who drink alcohol may not be following “safe sleep” recommendations, such as placing infants on their backs to sleep. Here’s a news release that explains the findings recently published in the journal Addiction.

No one knows what causes SIDS. It remains the leading cause of deaths in babies between the ages of 1 month and 1 year. This Los Angeles Times story provides some of the latest thinking on SIDS.

Still, progress has been made. The overall rates of SIDS has dropped more than 50% since 1994, when medical experts urged parents to place babies on their backs while sleeping. Read more here from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development about the Back to Sleep campaign. And the American SIDS Institute provides more information here too.