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Smoking Linked to Sudden Infant Death Risk

January 22, 2015
Public Health

A report by Public Health Wales has identified smoking as a particular risk factor in sudden infant deaths. The study looked at 45 incidents discovering that 25 of the babies were from homes where one or both parents smoked.

Dr Paul Davis, author of the report, was however quick to point out that parents should not blame themselves. “While great strides have been made in reducing unexplained sudden infant deaths in Wales, the fact so many of the deaths are linked to known risk factors suggests many more could be prevented,” he told the South Wales Post. “In particular, the rate of smoking among parents was alarmingly high and the importance of a smoke-free environment for young babies cannot be overestimated. Its important parents do not feel they’re being blamed for their infant’s death.”

Premature birth and low birth weight, along with younger maternal age and alcohol consumption by parents were also associated with the deaths reviewed in the study.

The report calls on the Welsh government to strengthen their efforts to reduce smoking and to provide training for health professionals on ‘appropriate sleeping environments.’

  You can view a copy of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy – A Collaborative Tematic Review 2010-2012 here