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Changes in the epidemiological pattern of sudden infant death syndrome in southeast Norway, 1984–1998: implications for future prevention and research
  1. M Arnestad,
  2. M Andersen,
  3. Å Vege,
  4. T O Rognum
  1. Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Oslo, Rikshospitalet, 0027 Oslo, Norway
  1. Dr Arnestadmarnesta{at}


AIM To look for changes in risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) after decrease and stabilisation of the SIDS rate.

METHODS Questionnaires were distributed to parents of 174 SIDS infants, dying between 1984 and 1998, and 375 age and sex matched controls in southeast Norway.

RESULTS The proportion of infants sleeping prone has decreased, along with the decrease in SIDS rate for the region during the periods studied, but over half of the SIDS victims are still found in the prone position. As the number of SIDS cases has decreased, additional risk factors have become more significant. Thus, after 1993, a significantly increased risk of SIDS is seen when the mother smokes during pregnancy. After 1993, young maternal age carries an increased risk. Maternal smoking and young maternal age are associated with each other. For SIDS victims, an increase in the number of infants found dead while co-sleeping is seen, and the age peak between 2 and 4 months and the winter peak have become less pronounced.

CONCLUSION Changes in risk factor profile following the decrease in SIDS rate in the early 1990s, as well as consistency of other factors, provides further clues to SIDS prevention and to the direction of further studies of death mechanisms.

  • SIDS
  • prone sleeping
  • low maternal age
  • smoking
  • pregnancy

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