What risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome are preterm and term medically complex infants exposed to at home? Journal Articles uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • Abstract Objectives Risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome include premature birth, maternal smoking, prone or side sleeping position, sleeping with blankets, sharing a sleeping surface with an adult, and sleeping without an adult in the room. In this study, we compare parents’ responses on sleep patterns in premature and term infants with medical complexity. Methods Parents of children enrolled in the Canadian Respiratory Syncytial Virus Evaluation Study of Palivizumab were phoned monthly regarding their child’s health status until the end of each respiratory syncytial virus season. Baseline data were obtained on patient demographics, medical history, and neonatal course. Responses on adherence to safe sleep recommendations were recorded as part of the assessment. Results A total of 2,526 preterms and 670 term infants with medical complexity were enrolled. Statistically significant differences were found in maternal smoking rates between the two groups: 13.3% (preterm); 9.3% (term) infants (χ 2=8.1, df=1, P=0.004) and with respect to toys in the crib: 12.3% (term) versus 5.8% preterms (χ 2=24.5, df=1, P<0.0005). Preterm infants were also significantly more likely to be placed prone to sleep (8.8%), compared with term infants (3.3%), (χ 2=18.1, df=1, P<0.0005). Conclusion All the infants in this study had frequent medical contacts. There is a greater prevalence of some risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome in preterm infants compared to term infants with medical complexity. Specific educational interventions for vulnerable infants may be necessary.


  • Mitchell, Ian
  • Wang, Daniel Y
  • Troskie, Christine
  • Loczy, Lisa
  • Li, Abby
  • Paes, Bosco
  • Lanctôt, Krista

publication date

  • June 11, 2021