Born Too Soon, Too Small

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  • international studies reporting that

    SIDS risk was lower among infants put

    to bed with a pacifier and reinforced

    earlier findings that sleeping on a sofa

    also increases infants risk of SIDS.

    The researchers studied all infants

    from the ages of birth to one year who

    had died of SIDS in Chicago, IL,

    between November 1993 and April

    1996. There were 260 SIDS deaths dur-

    ing that time.

    The SIDS rate for African American

    babies is more than twice that for

    white infants, according to experts.

    The research is part of the Chicago

    Infant Mortality Study, designed to

    identify risk factors for SIDS that place

    African American infants at roughly

    double the SIDS risk of Caucasians.

    Earlier findings of the study appear at


    The researchers compared informa-

    tion about each SIDS case to informa-

    tion about a control infanta living

    infant of comparable age, who was

    from the same racial and/or ethnic

    group and who had a similar birth

    weight. All of the SIDS deaths were

    evaluated by the Cook County Medical

    Examiners Office; autopsies had been

    conducted to rule out other causes of

    death. Death scene investigators con-

    ducted interviews about circumstances

    surrounding the deaths. The

    researchers used the NICHD defini-

    tion of SIDS: the sudden death of an

    infant under one year of age, which

    remains unexplained after a thorough

    case investigation, including perform-

    ance of a complete autopsy, examina-

    tion of the death scene, and review of

    the clinical history.

    Infants who died of SIDS were 5.4

    times more likely to have shared a bed

    with other children than were the con-

    trol infants. Sleeping with the mother

    alone or mother and father was associ-

    ated with an increased risk of SIDS,

    but this finding was not statistically

    significant. The study concluded the

    risk was primarily associated with bed

    212 AWHONN Lifelines Volume 7 Issue 3

    Born Too Soon,Too SmallEach week in the U.S.: 8,985 babies are born pre-term

    1,491 babies are born very pre-term

    5,904 babies are born low birth weight

    1,115 babies are born very low birth weight

    In 2000, 467,201 babies were born pre-term, representing 12 percent of

    the 4,058,814 births in the U.S.

    Between 1990 and 2000, the rate of infants born pre-term in the U.S.

    increased more than 9 percent

    The rate of pre-term birth in the U.S. is highest for African Americans

    (17.4 percent), followed by Native Americans (12.6 percent), Whites

    (10.6 percent) and Asians (10.2 percent)

    The rate of pre-term birth in the U.S. among Hispanics is 11.4 percent.

    People who are Hispanic may be of any race

    In the U.S., infants born to mothers less than age 20 or over 35 years are

    more likely to be pre-term than infants born to mothers aged 20 to 35

    Some risk factors for pre-term birth and low birth weight include previ-

    ous pre-term and/or lowbirth-weight birth, multiple birth, smoking,

    unplanned pregnancy, infections and poor nutrition

    Prematurity Then & Now









    Pre-term Low Birth Weight



    Healthy People 2010 Goal

    Sources: U.S. Center for Health Statistics, March of Dimes' Prematurity Campaign