A study conducted by UC San Diego researchers may suggest a connection between sudden infant death syndrome and alcohol consumption.
Scientists at the campus said the study shows a 33 percent surge in cases of SIDS on New Year's Day. According to sociologist David Phillips, the typical winter increase in cases does not explain the New Year's spike.
Researchers said they also detected higher numbers of in SIDS cases following April 20 --also known as Weed Day -- and after July 4, another day known for the excessive consumption of alcohol. They also said the study detected increases in SIDS cases "every weekend."
"The study examined 129,090 SIDS cases from 1973 to 2006 using three multiyear nationwide data sets: computerized death certificates, the linked birth and infant death dataset, and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System," according to a news release issued Wednesday.
The scientists who released the study said it also shows that babies born to mothers who drink are "more than twice as likely to die of SIDS."
The UCSD researchers did acknowledge limitations to the study: "We could not specify the detailed mechanisms and cannot determine whether alcohol is an independent risk factor for SIDS, a risk factor only in conjunction with other factors or a proxy for risks associated with occasions when consumption increases.”
Still, Phillips said he believes it to reasonable for SIDS investigators to ask parents about recent alcohol consumption and also for pediatricians to tell parents that alcohol consumption could impair their abilities and endanger their children.
SIDS is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 month and 1 year.