J Korean Med Sci.  2013 Mar;28(3):438-442. 10.3346/jkms.2013.28.3.438.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Korea: A Retrospective Analysis of Autopsy-Diagnosed Cases

  • 1Department of Forensic Medicine and Institute of Forensic Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Forensic Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Division of Forensic Medicine, National Forensic Service, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Division of Forensic Medicine, Central District Office National Forensic Service, Daejeon, Korea. pathologist@korea.com


This study aimed to elucidate the demographic and sleeping environmental factors associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in Korea. The autopsy reports of all SIDS cases reported to the National Forensic Service and Seoul National University College of Medicine between 1996 and 2008 were reviewed for data collection and analysis to identify the risk factors for SIDS. Analysis of the 355 SIDS cases reported within the study period revealed that of the 168 (47.3%) cases for which sleeping position before death had been reported, 75 (44.7%) cases had occurred after placement in prone or side position. Of the 204 (57.5%) cases for which bed-sharing situation had been reported, 121 (59.3%) deaths had occurred during bed-sharing, of which 54 (44.6%) infants were under 3 months of age, a significantly younger age than that of the non-bed-sharing cases (P = 0.0279). Analysis of the results indicated no tendency toward an increase or decrease in the use of a prone or side position. Rather, there was a statistically significant increasing trend for bed-sharing over the study period (OR, 1.087; 95% CI, 1.004-1.177; P = 0.04). These findings indicate the need for nationwide educational programs promoting a safe sleeping environment to enhance SIDS prevention.


Bed Sharing; Sleep; Sudden Infant Death

MeSH Terms

Asian Continental Ancestry Group
Forensic Sciences
Infant, Newborn
Odds Ratio
Prone Position
Republic of Korea
Retrospective Studies
Risk Factors
Sudden Infant Death/*pathology/prevention & control


  • Fig. 1 Annual distribution of positions placed to sleep before death in autopsy-diagnosed Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) cases.

  • Fig. 2 Annual distribution of bed-sharing in autopsy-diagnosed Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) cases.


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