Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is associated with maternal smoking during pregnancy. However, the relationship between tobacco exposure during infancy and SIDS is unknown. The examination of infants whose mothers smoked only after pregnancy will help determine the relationship between passive cigarette exposure during infancy and SIDS risk. This case-control analysis used data on normal birth weight (≥2500 g) infants included in the National Maternal and Infant Health Survey, a nationally representative sample of approximately 10 000 births and 6000 infant deaths. Infants were assigned to one of three exposure groups: maternal smoking during both pregnancy and infancy (combined exposure), maternal smoking only during infancy (passive exposure), and no maternal smoking. SIDS death was determined from death certificate coding. Logistic regression was used to adjust for potentially confounding variables. Infants who died of SIDS were more likely to be exposed to maternal cigarette smoke than were surviving infants. Among black infants the odds ratio was 2.4 for passive exposure and 2.9 for combined exposure. Among white infants the odds ratio was 2.2 for passive exposure and 4.1 for combined exposure. After adjustment for demographic risk factors, the odds ratio for SIDS among normal birth weight infants was approximately 2 for passive exposure and 3 for combined exposure for both races. These data suggest that both intrauterine and passive tobacco exposure are associated with an increased risk of SIDS and are further inducement to encourage smoking cessation among pregnant women and families with children.
- Received May 4, 1992.
- Accepted June 22, 1992.
- Copyright © 1992 by the American Academy of Pediatrics