Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 834–842 | Cite as

Comparison of Infant Sleep Practices in African–American and US Hispanic Families: Implications for Sleep-Related Infant Death

  • Anita A. Mathews
  • Brandi L. Joyner
  • Rosalind P. Oden
  • Ines Alamo
  • Rachel Y. Moon
Original Paper


African–American and Hispanic families share similar socioeconomic profiles. Hispanic rates of sleep-related infant death are four times lower than African–American rates. We conducted a cross-sectional, multi-modal (surveys, qualitative interviews) study to compare infant care practices that impact risk for sleep-related infant death in African–American and Hispanic families. We surveyed 422 African–American and 90 Hispanic mothers. Eighty-three African–American and six Hispanic mothers participated in qualitative interviews. African–American infants were more likely to be placed prone (p < 0.001), share the bed with the parent (p < 0.001), and to be exposed to smoke (p < 0.001). Hispanic women were more likely to breastfeed (p < .001), while African–American women were more knowledgeable about SIDS. Qualitative interviews indicate that, although African–American and Hispanic parents had similar concerns, behaviors differed. Although the rationale for infant care decisions was similar for African–American and Hispanic families, practices differed. This may help to explain the racial/ethnic disparity seen in sleep-related infant deaths.


SIDS Sudden unexpected infant death Racial disparity Parental practices 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anita A. Mathews
    • 1
  • Brandi L. Joyner
    • 1
  • Rosalind P. Oden
    • 1
  • Ines Alamo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Rachel Y. Moon
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health, Children’s National Health SystemGeorge Washington University School of Medicine and Health SciencesWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsGeorge Washington University School of Medicine and Health SciencesWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of General SurgeryUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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