SIDS in time
Overall statistics of SIDS incidences show that number of sudden deaths of infants declines. However, the biggest decrease we have seen in 90s – the result of the “Back to sleep” campaign. Since then, the decrease is much smaller, almost insignificant.
SIDS per infant group
Sudden infant death syndrome happens from one every 200 births to one every 20000 births. There are several factors that increase the SIDS risk in certain groups of infants:
- Gestation age (data for US, in late 90s)
- at 37–39 weeks of gestation SIDS rate was 0.73/1000
- at 28–31 weeks of gestation SIDS rate was 2.39/1000
- Birth weight (related to gestation age, data for US, late 90s):
- for infants weighing 1000–1499 g SIDS rate was 2.89/1000
- for infants weighing 3500–3999 g SIDS rate was only 0.51/1000.
- Race/culture (see our explanation of genetics of SIDS, data for US, 2010-2013):
- for American Indian infants SIDS rate was 0.9/1000
- for Non-Hispanic Black infants SIDS rate was 0.8/1000
- for Non-Hispanic White infants SIDS rate was 0.4/1000
- for Hispanic infants SIDS rate was 0.3/1000
- for Asian/Pacific Islander infants SIDS rate was 0.2/1000
Comparing SIDS rates to infant mortality rates
Sudden infant death syndrome is not the only reason of infants’ deaths in the world. It is assumed that across the world, the leading causes of premature infant deaths were birth asphyxia, pneumonia, pre-term birth complications, neonatal infection, diarrhoea, malaria, measles and malnutrition. However, when only first world countries are taken into account, some research suggests SIDS is the third the most leading cause of infant mortality. Let’s compare the two rates in United Kingdom and United States:
- In UK overall SIDS rate is 0.2/1000, but it’s five times higher when mother is younger than 20. Infant mortality rate there is 4.19/1000, so SIDS is the cause of 5% of premature deaths of infants.
- In US overall SIDS rate (averaged across all groups) is 0.5/1000. Infant mortality rate is 5.97, so SIDS is the cause of 8% of premature deaths of infants.
The numbers are pretty similar and in both countries SIDS accounts for less than 10% of all premature deaths.