Ambient heat and sudden infant death: A case-crossover study spanning 30 years in Montreal, Canada

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© 2015, Public Health Services, US Dept of Health and Human Services. All Rights Reserved. Background: Climate change may lead to more severe and extreme heat waves in the future, but its potential impact on sudden infant death—a leading cause of infant mortality—is unclear. oBjectives: We sought to determine whether risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is elevated during hot weather. Methods: We undertook a case-crossover analysis of all sudden infant deaths during warm periods in metropolitan Montreal, Quebec, Canada, from 1981 through 2010. Our analysis included a total of 196 certified cases of SIDS, including 89 deaths at 1–2 months of age, and 94 at 3–12 months. We estimated associations between maximum outdoor temperatures and SIDS by comparing outdoor temperatures on the day of or day before a SIDS event with temperatures on control days during the same month, using cubic splines to model temperature and adjusting for relative humidity. results: Maximum daily temperatures of ≥ 29°C on the same day were associated with 2.78 times greater odds of sudden infant death relative to 20°C (95% CI: 1.64, 4.70). The likelihood of sudden death increased steadily with higher temperature. Associations were stronger for infants 3–12 months of age than for infants 1–2 months of age, with odds ratios of 3.90 (95% CI: 1.87, 8.13) and 1.73 (95% CI: 0.80, 3.73), respectively, for 29°C compared with 20°C on the day of the event. conclusions: High ambient temperature may be a novel risk factor for SIDS, especially at ≥ 3 months of age. Cl imate change and the higher temperatures that result may account for a potentially greater proportion of sudden infant deaths in the future.




Auger, N., Fraser, W. D., Smargiassi, A., & Kosatsky, T. (2015). Ambient heat and sudden infant death: A case-crossover study spanning 30 years in Montreal, Canada. Environmental Health Perspectives, 123(7), 712–716.

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