The recordings of 1197 overnight rectal temperatures from infants of up to 24 weeks of age have been analysed with respect to 12 variables, including a number of risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome. Multivariable regression was used to identify if parental smoking, bottle feeding, sleeping position, and birth weight affect the overnight rectal temperature of infants. The rectal temperature, averaged over the period from three to five hours after the infants were put to bed, correlated well (R = 0.36) with the collected variables. An increase in the infant's age, birth weight, and the supine sleeping position all decreased the night time rectal temperatures. However, an increase in the night time room temperature, weight, and the combination of bottle feeding and parental smoking produced an increase in rectal temperature. The individual effects of bottle feeding and parental smoking were not significant. The results show that some of the major risk factors have the effect of raising the rectal temperature of sleeping infants.
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