Researchers at UC San Diego analyzed 33 years of data and found that alcohol consumption could be a contributing factor in many incidents of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), NBC San Diego reported Dec. 15.
The investigators analyzed 129,090 cases of SIDS recorded in national epidemiological data covering 1973-2006. According to NBC, they drew their data from three sets of data, including “computerized death certificates, the linked birth and infant death dataset, and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.”
The study found a 33% increase in SIDS deaths on New Year’s Day, as well as jumps on weekends and other days of the year when alcohol consumption spikes, including April 20 (so-called Weed Day) and July 4. Babies born to mothers who did not drink were half as likely to die of SIDS as those born to mothers who did.
The authors concluded that drinking alcohol appeared to be a risk factor in SIDS cases. In their paper, they wrote that it was not yet clear whether alcohol acted independently of other variables; if other risk factors also had to be in play for an infant to die; or if alcohol was actually “a proxy for other risk factors associated with occasions when alcohol consumption increases (like smoking).”
They recommended that pediatricians alert parents about the connection between of drinking alcohol and the risk of SIDS. They also indicated that investigators of SIDS deaths should ask parents about their recent alcohol use.
The study, “Alcohol as a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS),” appeared online on Nov. 9, 2010 in the journal Addiction.