This table from Georgetown University is very telling about SIDS in the U.S. Many publications make the assumption that African-American SIDS rates are higher than Caucasian, in part, due to the fact that U.S. blacks are cosleeping with their infants more often than whites.
There’s just one problem with this theory. Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans also have higher bed sharing rates than non-Hispanic whites, but as illustrated in the table below, published by the National SUID/SIDS Resource Center of Georgetown University, U.S. Asian and Hispanic SIDS rates are quite low; much lower than that of whites.
Is cosleeping a major cause of SIDS?
There are many factors involved in SIDS deaths and in cosleeping deaths. Sleep position seems to be one large factor, with prone sleeping a risk factor, and blacks laying their babies to sleep on their tummies more often than whites. Yet, Hispanics lay their infants on their backs at the same rate as whites, while white SIDS rates are higher.
Caucasians tend to have the most access to and practicing of mainstream medicine and its tenets, yet U.S. Asians and Hispanics maintain the lowest SIDS rates, by far, while they follow more traditional family practices.
A. Francis, Pediatric Chiefs. Cosleeping. The University of Chicago Medicine, Clinic Curriculum Document, 2010. [“African Americans, Hispanic, and South-east Asians have higher rates of co-sleeping.”]
Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Moon RY. SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths: expansion of recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Pediatrics. 2011 Nov;128(5):1030-9. [“The prevalence of supine positioning in 2010 among white infants was 75%, compared with 53% among black infants. The prevalence of supine sleep positioning among Hispanic and Asian infants was 73% and 80%, respectively.”]
National SUID/SIDS Resource Center of Georgetown University, Statistics Overview, Feb 2013.