smoking and sudden infant death syndrome

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A large prospective study has provided evidence of the link between maternal smoking and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (1). The study authors predict that up to 40% of SIDS could be avoided if the mother pregnant mother did not smoke.

The study of 24,986 pregnant women found that children of smokers had more than three times the risk of SIDS than children of non-smokers. There risk of SIDS increased with the number of cigarettes smoked per day (1).

Smoking is relevant:

  • perinatally:
    • by the mother; the more the mother smokes, the greater the risk to the infant of SIDS
    • by other household members; exposure of the pregnant mother to smoke increases the risk of SIDS
  • postnatally - by the mother or other household members


  • (1) Arch Dis Childhood (2000), 83, 203-6.

Last reviewed 01/2018