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Use of a fan during sleep and the risk of sudden infant death syndrome

OBJECTIVE: To examine the relation between room ventilation during sleep and risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). DESIGN: Population-based case-control study. SETTING: Eleven California counties. PARTICIPANTS: Mothers of 185 infants with a confirmed SIDS diagnosis and 312 randomly selected infants matched on county of residence, maternal race/ethnicity, and age. Intervention Fan use and open window during sleep. Main Outcome Measure Risk of SIDS. RESULTS: Fan use during sleep was associated with a 72% reduction in SIDS risk (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.28; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.10-0.77). The reduction in SIDS risk seemed more pronounced in adverse sleep environments. For example, fan use in warmer room temperatures was associated with a greater reduction in SIDS risk (AOR, 0.06; 95% CI, 0.01-0.52) compared with cooler room temperatures (0.77; 0.22-2.73). Similarly, the reduction associated with fan use was greater in infants placed in the prone or side sleep position (AOR, 0.14; 95% CI, 0.03-0.55) vs supine (0.84; 0.21-3.39). Fan use was associated with a greater reduction in SIDS risk in infants who shared a bed with an individual other than their parents (AOR, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.01-1.85) vs with a parent (0.40; 0.03-4.68). Finally, fan use was associated with reduced SIDS risk in infants not using pacifiers (AOR, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.07-0.69) but not in pacifier users (1.99; 0.16-24.4). Some differences in the effect of fan use on SIDS risk did not reach statistical significance. CONCLUSION: Fan use may be an effective intervention for further decreasing SIDS risk in infants in adverse sleep environments.

Authors: Coleman-Phox K; Odouli R; Li DK

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008 Oct;162(10):963-8.

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