Background Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) occurs less frequently in the first month of life, peaks between 2 and 4 months of age, and decreases thereafter. Prone sleeping (placing an infant to sleep on his/her stomach), bed sharing, parents not sleeping in the same room as the infant, an infant not using a pacifier during sleep, overheating, and maternal smoking during pregnancy have been suggested as contributing factors for SIDS.
Aim To examine SIDS in low birth weight infants.
Results Infants who are born prematurely or who have low birthweight have up to four times the risk of SIDS than those infants born at term, and this risk increases with decreasing gestational age or birthweight. Low birth weight infants have a significantly higher risk of SIDS, a risk tightly correlated with prematurity. High SIDS incidence among low birth weight, very low birth weight, and extremely low birth weight infants persists despite increased overall survival within these infant populations. As a result, an increase in SIDS deaths could be expected in the lower birth weight infants because of the decreased competing mortality pressures during the neonatal period. In low birth weight and normal birth weight infants, we would anticipate a less marked increase in survival and, because of their increased maturity, a less apparent effect on SIDS rates.
Conclusion Parents of low birth weight infants require appropriate SIDS prevention education, including information about the dangers of environmental tobacco exposure and prone infant sleep.