SIDS deaths higher on New Year's day, alcohol to blame
December 31st, 2010
06:00 AM ET

SIDS deaths higher on New Year's day, alcohol to blame

Beware of too much alcohol – especially if there’s a baby at home. Babies die from SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, at alarmingly higher rates on New Year’s Day, according to a new study. Researchers link the 33% rise in deaths to an increase in alcohol consumption as parents ring in the New Year. The study’s authors point out that there is a similar but smaller increase after July 4th and on the weekends, when people traditionally consume more alcohol.

The study, published in the journal Addiction, examined 129,000 SIDS cases in the United States from 1973 to 2006. The research is the first of its kind to link alcohol and SIDS, say the authors. SIDS is the number one killer of children between the ages of one month and one year. It is only attributed as the cause of death when there’s no other explanation for how a seemingly healthy baby could stop breathing on his or her own.

In 1994, a national “Back to Sleep” campaign began urging caregivers to put infants on their backs while sleeping. Since then, the number of SIDS cases has fallen significantly. Some parents may forget to follow those guidelines after consuming alcohol. “We know that when people are under the influence of alcohol their judgments are impaired and they are not as good at performing tasks. This would include caretaking,” says David Phillips, one of the study’s authors in a written statement.

Getting some extra shut-eye is not the problem. The study indicates that parents simply sleeping in is not a valid explanation for the increase in infant mortalities. During the autumn daylight savings when we set our clocks back one hour, many parents choose to sleep in instead of waking up earlier, but there was no rise in SIDS.

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Shannon

    Those darn infants drinking too much alcohol... Worst headline ever.

    December 31, 2010 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. danielle

    Thats not somthing 2 joke about i had a child pass away due 2 sids last year i say if this article saves 1 child its worth it

    December 31, 2010 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jen

      Danielle- so sorry to hear about your baby.

      January 2, 2011 at 20:57 | Report abuse |
  3. Lisa

    To blame SIDS on a parent's drinking is absurd! SIDS kills whether the parent is drunk or sober. Alcohol has nothing to do with a SIDS death. If you had called it sufocation (sp) or some other plausible reason, I would not argue with you. SIDS is the term given when there is no known reason for an infant's death, and this after a full investigation AND autopsy. A child can be cooing one second; dead the next, and no matter what you do, you will never bring a SIDS child back from death. The organs shut down immediately and forever. Therefore, this article is hogwash!

    January 1, 2011 at 01:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jobie

      I dunno', Lisa...a 33% increase in SIDS death on New Years Eve seems pretty significant to me. How else do you explain the alarming increase...on the year's holiday when alcohol is so widely consumed?

      January 1, 2011 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      My point is that it doesn't cause SIDS deaths. Some people call a child's death SIDS when it's really from something else. As far as "new year's", the months most often seen in SIDS deaths are late fall/early winter which is when the new year rings in. The majority of the deaths are for babies between 2 and 4 months, and there is a higher incidence with boys than with girls. The babies tend to have only minor, if any, illness (in other words, they tend to have appeared quite healthy before they died). To say that SIDS itself is caused by events that happen on New Years Eve is wrong because it just simply can't happen that way. A SIDS death is unexplained, and it has been determined that babies who die from SIDS do not struggle, plus their organs simply shut down forever. There is a possiblity that it has something to do with a baby's brain stem and seritonin levels, but again, that has nothing to do with outside factors like a parent drinking or being in deep sleep at the time of the baby's death. I would like to direct people to http://www.sids.org for SIDS information. I honestly believe if babies are dying 33% more on New Years Eve, it is because of other reasons, not because of SIDS. Other reasons include suffocation (whether from a parent rolling over on the baby or from a blanket or something else over its head or from breathing in its own exhaled air with no chance of fresh air); toxins of some sort in a baby's bottle or food (unintentional of course); drowning of some sort; etc. Those are NOT SIDS deaths.

      January 1, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • .

      Another crap article. Infant death due to excessive alcohol consumption by the parents would cause a host of issues for the child. Idiotic comparison. SIDS is not always related to this and to assume so is moronic. Thanks for NOTHING !

      January 3, 2011 at 14:53 | Report abuse |
  4. dennis

    Pretty certain you could change it to "poor parenting" instead of SIDS. OH, I forgot....nothing is anyone's fault anymore. It's someone else fault or unexplainable. My sister's best friend had a 3 month old girl who suffocated over night. Blanket was all over the place in the crib. Not the recommended wrap like a tight burrito. But they all called it SIDS. It was poor child care.

    January 1, 2011 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lisa

      You are correct. Some of it is from poor parenting. Suffocation is not SIDS though. Suffocation is a controllable event. SIDS is not. The investigators would not have called suffocation SIDS.

      January 2, 2011 at 09:20 | Report abuse |
  5. Jen

    Another article gave more detail, and alcohol consumption was estimated based on alcohol related car accidents in the general public. I wonder if the spike is alcohol related or babysitter related. I know I have sitters on New years eve. A sitter may not be as educated on SIDS prevention. I had to do a LOT of education with my sister in law who does not have children and would never read any article such as this about SIDS.

    January 2, 2011 at 20:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Scott

      Wow, that is a great point. It makes for more sense that something like SIDS could be related to babysitters that don't have the same expertise. It actually makes this whole article seem like it was written by someone who didn't think to look at other variables... 33% increase is actually not that high considering that there is 100x more likely chance that a baby is babysat on new years rather than any other day of the year.

      January 3, 2011 at 03:48 | Report abuse |
  6. .


    January 3, 2011 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. CBI Cadet

    All too often, stories about SIDS or sleeping depict unsafe sleeping conditions, which can contribute to SIDS and SUIDS deaths. Here's hoping The Chart can find another picture that doesn't show a baby sinking into a soft mattress or stack of towels as a baby's mattress as babies should sleep in a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib.

    January 5, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jorma J. Takala

    I have a few things to say about this, First I disagree that alcohol would cause SIDS, But it would contribute to SIDS.

    The true cause of SIDS, Autism and my Aspergers Syndrome (or PDD ) is the preservative used in Margarine, Mayonnaise, some canned mushrooms and some medicines.

    It's called Calcium Disodium EDTA

    Calcium Disodium EDTA is mainly synthesised from ethylenediamine (1,2-diaminoethane), formaldehyde, and sodium cyanide.

    I don't think it takes a scientist, or a doctor to know that anything made from formaldehyde and sodium cyanide is going to be poison.

    I ended a 44 yr old bipolar manic disorder by changing my diet and lifestyle to avoid all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. I had no help from any doctors, or medications. I did this on my own and found so many things that are linked to the consumption of the toxic additives in our foods, drugs, cosmetics, toiletries and some clothing!

    Each time I consumed any of the additives I got an instant migraine headache which I treated with dye free benadryl which relieved the headache pain within 30 minutes.

    This worked because the additives are rejected by our bodies and the body reacts to these allergens .

    I studied very hard and found that when we eat these additives it causes swelling of the brain stem which in turn restricts the flow of spinal fluid to and from the cranium (skull) .

    You must understand that every single nerve and signal from each and every organ goes directly through the brain stem.
    The brain stem connects your entire body to your brain!

    When it swells and causes the migraine, What is in fact happening is an increase of the physical fluid pressure within the skull, This is called ICP, or Intracranial pressure.

    I know how this effected me by causing tinitis, migraines and the feeling of my eyes being pushed outward from the pressure growing in my head.

    One symptom I had that disappeared was Sleep Apnea and here's my thoughts about this....

    What you and I see as Sleep Apnea, is what an infant sees as SIDS.

    Not having been breathing long enough for it to be an unconscience act, therefor when the sleep apnea hits an infant, they can not maintain their breathing and they die.

    When mother eats something, so does baby!

    This is how alcohol becomes a problem, When breast feeding you're giving you baby a shot of whatever you drank.

    I consider my migraines a luxury because many people never get a migraine headache and have no indication that they are suffering from the same thing I had.

    I have studied for over 5 years about the potential causes for my aspergers syndrome and have come to the conclusion that the EDTA and other additives are what ruined my life with learning disabilities and behavioral and mental health issue that plagued me throughout my entire life.

    Autism is caused by hypoplasia of the brain, in laymans terms thats arrested development of the brain.
    What this means is The brain tries to grown within the confines of the skull, But that physical fluid pressure prevents that growth and development is decreased.

    I have identifies the areas around the brain stem as the temporal lobes ( controls facial recognition and auditory sensitivity) and the hippocampus which is a divider between the two halves of the brain, signals from one side of the brain travel through the hippocampus, But the problems caused by the additives are maintained by daily consumption by a breast feeding mother, or by giving foods containing those additives to your children.

    Vaccines do not cause autism but they do trigger autism, however this is only on children whos families have a long history in the USA

    The dyes approved for human consumption in 1906 have been in use for over 100 year and studies have shown that the petroleum based coal tar food dyes cause DNA damage in various internal organs.

    I believe this dna damage is what makes the vaccines trigger the Autism.

    My children had the vaccines and had no reactions at all.
    But this is because I am first generation American born in my family as an American.
    My parents never and these additives as children and so there's no genetic trail to follow with regard to the damage experienced by most others.

    I have more information about the many problems caused by these additives and I would love to share it all with everyone who cares to know!

    Find me on facebook use the name above and friend me for more information about the many problems caused by these additives.

    I changed my life with what I learned, now let me change yours!

    January 10, 2011 at 05:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gina dragoni

      I found your article very interesting my son has Autism and I know I could help him if I knew what it was I was looking for.It is very difficult to watch him!! He is not severe he is only 4 1/2 so I dont know what his future will hold for him Or if he will even get bette,r but I would love to learn more about what you were saying in your article.


      January 28, 2011 at 23:21 | Report abuse |
  9. Jorma J. Takala

    I tried tellling this here on CNN over the past 4 years and nobody takes me seriously.

    As a result of the Aspergers Syndrome, I am a genius.

    Believe me, or not, The truth will come out and I will be right.

    If you doubt me.... Ask Dr Sanjay Gupta, if it makes sense to have someone perform a study on EDTA to spend millions to tell me what I already know, Anything made from formaldehyde and sodium cyanide, or petroleum based coal tar is POISON!

    I sent this to the President of These United States, I sent this to the Previous administration as well!

    January 10, 2011 at 05:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Jorma J. Takala

    I continue to say that these additives are the cause of this and that and The number one response is the question of studies and research.

    There is none. I lived this, every single day I lived this and my life was filled with behavioral and mental health issues that consumed every moment of every single day!

    Today all of that is gone.


    Because I do NOT eat any artificial additives.

    People with money do not eat these things, Only the poor who can not afford to eat and are forced to consume the poison given to them by the corporations tasked with providing consumables for 300 million people.

    Approved by the EPA and the FDA and it's advertised as something that is good for you!

    I have to ask every person in America one question?

    Do you believe it when the EPA, FDA, or happytime television advertising company tells you that EDTA, which is made from formaldehyde and cyanide, is good for you, Will you believe that without question because you know the EPA and FDA are tasked with maintaining certain standards that would prevent something as deadly as formaldehyde and cyanide from being used as a preservative used in foods that potentially 100% of America will consume?


    Will you?

    January 17, 2011 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sandra mottola

    How often does SIDS occur in a hospital? My nephews son died in the hospital and they said it was SIDS ,how if the baby was in the special unit for infants, shouldn't the have been monitoring him.

    May 4, 2012 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
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