Open Access Open Badges Research article

Case-control study of sudden infant death syndrome in Lithuania, 1997–2000

Vilija Bubnaitienė1*, Ramunė Kalėdienė2 and Rimantas Kėvalas1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics, Kaunas University of Medicine, Eiveniu 2, 5009 Kaunas, Lithuania

2 Department of Public Health, Kaunas University of Medicine, Eiveniu 4, 5009 Kaunas, Lithuania

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BMC Pediatrics 2005, 5:41  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-41

Published: 13 November 2005



To identify risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome relevant in Lithuania.


A nationwide case-control study surveying parents of 35 infants who died from sudden infant death syndrome during the period of 1997–2000 and parents of 145 control infants matched with SIDS infants for date of birth and for region of birth was carried out.


Deaths incidence was greater in the warm period (60%) vs. cold period (40%). Prone and side sleeping positions both carried no increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome compared with supine because of a rare prone sleeping (4.1% of controls vs. 0% of dead infants) and more prevalent side than supine sleeping (84.8% of controls vs. 94.3% of dead infants) in the controls as well as the cases. Bed sharing for the whole night as a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome has not been confirmed, either, as bed sharing was common only for the controls (13.8% of controls vs. 0% of dead infants). Routine sleeping environment factors such as heavy wrapping (≥4 togs) of an infant (odds ratio 8.49; 95% confidence interval 2.38 to 30.32), sleeping in a bassinet (4.22; 1.16 to 15.38) and maternal factors such as maternal education ≤12 years (4.48; 1.34 to 14.94), unplanned pregnancy (5.22; 1.49 to 18.18) and ≥2 previous live births (3.90; 1.00 to 15.10) were significantly associated with sudden infant death syndrome on multivariate analysis.


The results of this first population-based case-control study have shed some light on the epidemiology of the syndrome in Lithuania. Although the mortality of sudden infant death syndrome in Lithuania is not high, it might be lowered moreover by public informing about sudden infant death syndrome and related risk factors. Special attention must be paid to mothers with low education on potentially modifiable risk factors such as routine heavy wrapping of an infant during sleep, routine sleeping in a bassinet and unplanned pregnancy.