Sociodemographic and meteorological correlates of sudden infant death in Taiwan


  • Ying-Hwa Su and Chi-Wen Chen contributed equally to the study.

Correspondence: Chi-Wen Chen, PhD, RN, Department of Nursing, College of Medicine, Fu-Jen Catholic University, No. 510, Chung-Cheng Road, Hsin-Chuan, Taipei 24205, Taiwan. Email:



This study was designed, using three national datasets including the Taiwan Death Registry, Taiwan Birth Registry, and National Meteorological Dataset, to examine the sociodemographic, geographic and meteorological correlates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).


One thousand, six hundred and seventy-one cases of SIDS occurring between 1994 and 2003, and 8355 matched controls were included in this nested case–control study.


Over the study period, the annual rate of SIDS declined only slightly, with an average annual rate of 57.9/105. Male infants (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.19; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.06–1.33), preterm births (AOR, 1.69; 95%CI: 1.33–2.13), low birthweight (AOR, 2.87; 95%CI: 2.30–3.59), and birth order ≥3 (AOR, 1.62; 95%CI: 1.37–1.92) were the demographic risk factors for SIDS. Additionally, paternal age <25 years (AOR, 1.37; 95%CI: 1.09–1.71), urbanization (AOR, 1.46; 95%CI: 1.20–1.78), lower paternal education (elementary and less; AOR, 1.28; 95%CI: 1.01–1.64), and parental age difference >10 years (AOR, 1.72; 95%CI: 1.24–2.39) were also associated with increased risk of SIDS. It was also noted that daily average temperature ranging from 9.2°C to 14.2°C (AOR, 2.10; 95%CI: 1.67–2.64) was associated with the most increased risk, while temperature ≥26.4°C (AOR 0.60, 0.61) was significantly associated with the most reduced risk.


Sociodemographic, geographic and meteorological data can be used to identify families in greater need of early guidance and to promote various prevention measures to avoid the occurrence of SIDS.