Purpose of review
With the introduction of the Back to Sleep campaign by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1992, the incidence of Sudden infant death syndrome has decreased by almost 50%. Despite this success, SIDS continues to be the most common cause of unexplained infant death in Western countries. This article will briefly review the definition, etiology, and risk factors of SIDS. Attention will then focus on ways to target specific associated risk factors and at risk populations to promote a continued downward trend in the number of SIDS deaths.
Recent literature in SIDS research has focused on identifying infants at continued risk for SIDS. Children attending child care centers have an increased risk for SIDS, which is of particular concern as the number of infants in child care continues to rise. The reasons for this, along with strategies to decrease this risk, will be reviewed. In addition, the SIDS rate among black infants continues to be more than twice that of white infants. A review of the reasons for this disparity and ways to intervene through targeted campaigns will be discussed. Recent data has also suggested that the prevention of SIDS should not be an indication for use of home cardiorespiratory monitoring. The use of home monitoring may be warranted for some infants and will be reviewed.
Our jobs as pediatricians should be to ensure that the incidence of SIDS continues to decline. This can be done through parent education at each and every well child visit, lobbying to enforce state law to implement SIDS education campaigns for child care centers and within African-American communities, and continued review of the most current literature in SIDS research to keep ourselves current and well informed.