Objective Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) remains the leading cause of infant mortality in developed countries. Behavioural risk factors were identified and campaigns for risk reduction have helped to reduce SIDS incidence by 50–90%. In Portugal, there are recommendations from the Portuguese Paediatrics Society on SIDS preventing practices, but there haven’t been campaigns and parental knowledge is uncertain. The aim of this study is to determine knowledge on SIDS risk factors and care practices of 1–12 month old infants’ parents attending pediatrics appointments at two primary healthcare centres.
Methods and Results A questionnaire was applied to 44 parents from June to December 2007. The average infant is 5.1 months old, full term and appropriate for gestational age. Only 28% of parents place the infant supine to sleep and 39% received information about sleep position from a healthcare professional. 77% of infants share a room with the parents and 18% a share bed with them. 61% referred soft bedding or mattress; overheating was referred by 29%. Eleven mothers (25%) were smokers and 45% of these smoked during pregnancy; 50% of smoking mothers expose infants to smoke and 36% of parents let their infants be exposed to the smoke of others. 73% of parents have heard about SIDS and, of these, 51% referred at least one correct protective measure.
Conclusion Although the majority of parents undergo correct practices, many incorrect practices and ideas about SIDS risk reducing measures still remain. Improved educational efforts for newborns’ parents, namely risk reducing campaigns and individualized information, are needed.