(HealthDay News) — Risk factors for sleep-related infant deaths vary with infant age, according to a study published online July 14 in Pediatrics.

Jeffrey D. Colvin, MD, JD, from Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, MO, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of sleep-related infant deaths from 24 states during 2004–2012. Data were included for 8,207 deaths. Correlations between risk factors for sleep-related deaths (such as bed-sharing, objects in the sleep environment, sleep location, and sleep position) at different ages (0–3 months and four months to 364 days) were assessed.

The researchers found that the likelihood of bed-sharing and sleeping in an adult bed/on a person were increased for younger victims (73.8 vs. 58.9% and 51.6 vs. 43.8%, respectively; both P<0.001). The percentage of infants with an object in the sleep environment and who changed position from side/back to prone was higher among older victims (39.4 vs. 33.5% and 18.4 vs. 13.8%, respectively; both P<0.001). These associations were confirmed in multivariable regression.

“Risk factors for sleep-related infant deaths may be different for different age groups,” the authors write. “Parents should be warned about the dangers of these specific risk factors appropriate to their infant’s age.”

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