Mattresses, microenvironments, and multivariate analyses

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7371.981 (Published 2 November 2002)
Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:981

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No reason to change current practices for reducing risk of sudden infant death

  1. Peter J Fleming, professor of infant health and developmental physiology,
  2. Peter S Blair, medical statistician
  1. Division of Child Health, University of Bristol, Bristol BS1 2LY
  2. Department of Paediatrics, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand

    Papers p 1007

    Despite the success of “Back to Sleep” campaigns in many countries, sudden infant death syndrome remains responsible for the largest group of deaths in infants between one month and one year of age.1 The importance of sleeping in the prone position as a contributory factor has led to studies of the pathophysiological effects of the prone position on the infant and to studies of microenvironmental factors that might contribute to this risk. 2 3 The carefully conducted study by Tappin and colleagues in this issue (p 1007) is set in Scotland and emphasises the potential importance of the infant's microenvironment during sleep as a contributory factor to the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, but as emphasised by the authors, caution must be exercised in the interpretation of these results.4

    Tappin and colleagues have shown an apparently increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome for infants sleeping on a mattress previously used by another infant (54% cases, 28% controls), confirming the observation by the same group in an earlier study.5 The previous Scottish study was criticised because infants sharing beds with adults were included with infants sleeping on mattresses used by …

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