The aim of this retrospective study was to report the characteristics of SIDS deaths in the French region of Languedoc-Roussillon from 2003-2008. In order to estimate more accurately the time at which infant deaths occurred, we evaluated the time interval between when the baby was last observed alive, taken as the time of last feeding, and the discovery of death. It was conducted in 2 groups of sudden unexpected death of infants (SUDI), classified as unexplained SUDI (SIDS, N=27) or explained SUDI (N=22), following post mortem procedures. In SIDS, 67% (18/27) of deaths were discovered in the wakeful day (09:00h to 21:00h) and most deaths occurred within the first 4 hours after feeding (66%). In explained SUDI, 68.2% of deaths were discovered at night and time intervals between last feeding and discovery of death were longer than in SIDS (mean: 7.1hr, p<0.01).
In the Languedoc-Roussillon, in which SIDS death rate remains relatively high, SIDS deaths were discovered mostly in the wakeful day and explained SUDI mostly at night. Variations in the time interval between the last feed and discovery of death in the two groups may result from differences in parental attentiveness during the day and night time periods.