Article Title

Trends in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Australia from 1980 to 2002


Analysis was undertaken of trends in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in Australia from 1980 to 2002 using Australian Bureau of Statistics data. The results showed a decline in the SIDS mortality rate from an average of 195.6 deaths per 100,000 live births in the period 1980–1990 to an average of 96.5 deaths per 100,000 live births in the period 1991–1996 and 51.7 deaths per 100,000 live births in the period 1997–2002. The Poisson regression coefficients for SIDS fitted to the rates at the Australia level indicated that the Reduce the Risks (RTR) campaign led to a significant decline of almost 40% when contrasting the pre- and post-campaign periods. Despite recent suggestions that the fall in SIDS rate has been due to natural variations in incidence, the data clearly show that the decline in SIDS rates coincided almost immediately with the introduction of the RTR campaign and has been sustained over time. There was no evidence of diagnostic transfer or of a postponement of death from infancy to early childhood years. Unless this dramatic fall was caused by as yet undetected factors, the campaign is the only plausible explanation for the markedly reduced SIDS rate in Australia.


peer-reviewed, SIDS, prevention, monitoring, Australia, forensic pathology

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