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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
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Page updated Dec 29, 2010 12:46 PM
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SIDS Deaths Spike After New Year's Eve, July 4 and 4/20 Day

Is it just one more reason to practice moderation? The medical profession has long puzzled over what causes sudden infant death syndrome, and while the exact cause of what is also known as "crib death" remains a mystery, a new study finds that the number of SIDS cases reported each year spikes on dates following notable celebrations involving drugs and alcohol.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, found that reported cases of SIDS in the U.S. went up by 33 percent on New Year's Day. The reason? Parents of young infants who drink too much alcohol often forget to put their children to sleep on their backs, a position that correlates with lower rates of SIDS.

Why are the study's authors so convinced that excessive partying results in higher rates of SIDS? Because they say that New Year's Day isn't the only statistically significant calendar day:

The study also found a rise in SIDS just after April 20 (or 4/20), a counterculture celebration of cannabis, and after July 4, which is also known as an inebriated time, though the rise on neither of these dates is as dramatic as on New Year's.

While the study does not claim to conclusively link partying behavior to SIDS, it notes that "babies of mothers who drink are twice as likely to die of SIDS."

"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," David Phillips, one of the study's main authors, said in a press release.  For more information about SIDS, visit www.sidsma.org.  For more information about the study, visit the UC San Diego News Center.

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