In our study, we focused on reevaluating the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) within the context of the triple-risk model proposed by Filiano and Kinney. This model suggests that SIDS is the result of three intersecting factors: a vulnerable infant, a critical developmental period in homeostatic control, and external stressors. Our attention was particularly drawn to the peak incidence of SIDS cases around the third month of life, which we believed could indicate a critical developmental period. We conducted a detailed analysis of CDC data from 1983 to 2011, examining not only the correlation between gestational age and age at death but also considering the potential for misdiagnosis and biases in the data due to changes in the ICD-9/ICD-10 transition and the influence of the “Back to Sleep” campaign.
Our results brought a new perspective to the discussion on SIDS. We found that the peak of deaths in the third month of life, previously considered a unique feature of SIDS, was not exclusive to this condition. However, our analysis revealed a significant, almost linear negative correlation between gestational age and the week of death due to SIDS. This pattern, which is distinct from other diseases we analyzed in our study, suggests a developmental component in the etiology of SIDS, underscoring the importance of the critical developmental period.
We concluded our study by emphasizing the critical developmental period in the etiology of SIDS. Our findings suggest that future research should place greater emphasis on theories related to homeostatic control. The unique correlation we observed between gestational age and age at death in SIDS cases highlights a specific developmental vulnerability. Through our work, we aim to encourage a reexamination of infant development trajectories in efforts to better understand and prevent SIDS.