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Cohort study
Maternal alcohol use increases risk of infant mortality
  1. Larry Burd
  1. University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Larry Burd
    University of North Dakota, 501 N Columbia Rd, Stop 9037, Grand Forks 58202-9037, ND, USA; larry.burd{at}

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Commentary on: O'Leary CM, Jacoby PJ, Bartu A, et al. Maternal alcohol use and sudden infant death syndrome and infant mortality excluding SIDS. Pediatrics 2013;131:e770–8.


Infant death rates are used as one component of a strategy to compare healthcare across countries. Maternal alcohol use was reported as a risk marker for infant mortality as early as 1899 using data from British women's prisons which detected a fourfold increase in risk of infant mortality.1 Sullivan had also identified increased rates of mortality recurrence among siblings. Prenatal alcohol exposure is now recognised as the leading identifiable cause of intellectual disability in the developed world. Recently, maternal alcohol abuse has been identified as a risk marker for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).2 The …

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  • Competing interests None.