Rates of sudden infant death syndrome are plunging thanks to educated mothers.
Rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) have plunged recently because more parents are placing babies on their backs to sleep, as recommended by government experts. But babies born to educated mothers have experienced the greatest reductions in risk--suggesting the public-health "back-to-sleep" campaign hasn't reached everyone. It's possible that some mothers haven't heard the advice, don't follow it or have other SIDS risk factors, such as smoking or using soft bedding, says study author Kate E. Pickett, Ph.D., of the University of York in England. "We have seen such rapid changes in SIDS risk in recent years that environmental factors must be much more important than genetic factors," Pickett adds.