St. Louis Public Radio News
4:42 pm
Mon February 3, 2003

SLU Study Ties SIDS to Where Babies Sleep

St. Louis, Mo. – A new Saint Louis University study has traced the high rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) among African-Americans to inadequate sleeping arrangements.

Research in this month's issue of Pediatrics indicates the higher incidence of SIDS is the result of babies sleeping in adult beds.

A public-awareness campaign was responsible for an overall drop in SIDS in the '90s, but the level among African-Americans has not fallen at the same rate.

Dr. James Kemp of Saint Louis University says some African-American babies sleep with adults because their parents can't afford cribs. "Most babies who die suddently and unexpectedly of SIDS in this country are from pretty poor homes," Kemp said. "Babies who died while bed-sharing were substantially less well-off."

In all, two-thirds of the 119 African-American babies in the case died while sharing a bed.