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March 8, 1995

Sleep Position and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch, Center for Research for Mothers and Children, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 1995;273(10):818-819. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520340074040

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of postneonatal infant mortality in the United States. Between 5000 and 6000 infants die with this diagnosis each year, with an incidence in 1992 of 1.2 per 1000 live births.1 SIDS is defined as the sudden death of an infant younger than 1 year that remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history.2 Infants with SIDS die during a critical developmental period, which peaks between 2 and 4 months of age.

See also pp 783, 790, and 795.

There is evidence from physiologic and pathologic investigations to support the concept that SIDS infants at birth are different from those who survive. However, there are no clinical criteria that distinguish a newborn as high risk. Epidemiologic studies have sought characteristics in the prenatal and

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