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OBJECTIVE: Synthetic quilt use has been associated with increased childhood wheeze in previous studies. Our aim was to examine whether the adverse effect of synthetic quilt use on frequent wheeze differed by usual sleep position. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A population-based cross-sectional study of 6378 (92% of those eligible) 7-year-olds in Tasmania, Australia, was conducted in 1995. Exercise-challenge lung function was obtained on a subset of 414 children from randomly selected schools. EXPOSURE MEASURES: Child bedding including pillow and overbedding composition and usual sleep position by parental questionnaire. OUTCOME MEASURES: Frequent wheeze (>12 wheeze episodes over the past year), using the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood parental questionnaire, and baseline and postexercise forced expiratory volume in 1 second lung-function measures. RESULTS: Frequent wheeze (n = 117) was positively associated with synthetic quilts, synthetic pillows, electric blankets, and sleeping in a bottom bunk bed but did not vary by sleep position. In a nested case-control analysis, the association between synthetic quilt use and frequent wheeze differed by sleep position. Among children who slept supine, synthetic (versus feather) quilt use was associated with frequent wheeze (adjusted odds ratio: 2.37 [1.08, 5.23]). However, among nonsupine sleepers, overlying synthetic quilt use was not associated with frequent wheeze (adjusted odds ratio: 1.06 [0.60, 1.88]). This difference in quilt effect by sleep position was highly significant. Similarly, synthetic quilt use was associated with lower postexercise forced expiratory volume in 1 second measures among supine but not nonsupine sleeping children. CONCLUSION: An increasing focus on the bedding environment immediately adjacent to the nose and mouth is required for respiratory disorders provoked by bedding, such as child asthma characterized by frequent wheeze.


Journal article



Publication Date





1216 - 1222


Asthma, Bedding and Linens, Child, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Humans, Male, Respiratory Sounds, Sleep, Supine Position, Textiles