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Native American SIDS Deaths Drop With Nurse Visits

Study also found mother's binge drinking can endanger baby

TUESDAY, Dec. 3, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Public health nurse visits to Northern Plains Indian women before and after they gave birth reduced the risk of the infants' sudden death, a new study has found.

The American study also found that binge drinking -- defined as five or more drinks at a time -- during a mother's first trimester of pregnancy made it eight times more likely her baby would die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The researchers, whose findings are published in tomorrow's Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed information about 33 SIDS infant deaths between 1992 and 1996 and compared it to information about 66 infants of the same ages in the same communities.

Infants living in homes where a public health nurse visited before or after birth were 80 percent less likely to die of SIDS than babies in homes never visited by public health nurses.

The study, called the Aberdeen Area Infant Mortality Study, also found that babies wearing at least two layers of clothing -- excluding a diaper -- had more than a sixfold increased risk of dying of SIDS.

That finding is consistent with previous research showing that overdressing babies when they sleep can increase the risk of SIDS. Babies should be dressed lightly for sleep and the room temperature should be maintained at a comfortable level.

The SIDS rate among American Indians is the highest of any population group. In 1999, it was more than double that of whites -- 1.5 SIDS deaths per 1,000 live births in American Indians compared to 0.7 per 1,000 in whites.

"Strengthening public health nurse visiting programs and programs to reduce alcohol consumption among women of childbearing age could potentially reduce the high rate of SIDS," says Solomon Iyasu, the lead author of the study, in a written release.

Isayu is an epidemiologist with the reproductive health program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was one of three agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services to fund the study.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about SIDS.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Dec. 3, 2002
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