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Professor Pete Blair

Professor Pete Blair

Professor Pete Blair
B.Sc.(Hons), M.Sc.(Leic.), Ph.D.(Bristol)

Professor of Epidemiology and Statistics

Area of research

Research into infant and child health

Office 2.04
Level D,
St Michael's Hospital, Southwell Street BS2 8EG
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 342 5154
+44 (0) 117 42 83114


In the last two decades the number of cot deaths, also known as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) has plummeted in the UK (from over 1400 deaths to less than 300 a year), an 80% decrease due in no small part to the epidemiological studies conducted at the UoB. Stemming from this work my research interests include i) safe infant care practices ii) infant and child growth iii) childhood sleep iv) infant and childhood injuries and v) infant and childhood illness (in particular Respiratory Tract Infections) as well as involvement in translational work to ensure public health advice is evidence based. Future intended work includes studies to look at potential causal pathways of the remaining SIDS deaths, collecting evidence of the best way to deliver advice to high risk families and trial interventions to reduce antibiotic consumption in children. I have experience of several trial designs (case-control, cohort studies, larger programmes, confidential inquiries and RCTs) and run the short course in Basic Epidemiology at the SSCM. I am also currently a consultant methodologist for both the Bristol Randomised Trial Collaboration (BRTC) Unit and the NIHR Research Design Services (RDS), deputy chair of ISPID (International Society for the study and prevention of Perinatal and Infant Death) and scientific advisor to UNICEF UK.


Peter has a background in medical statistics and a particular interest in infant and childhood epidemiology. Born in Manchester, he studied Mathematics (BSc Hons) and Medical Statistics (MSc) before moving to Bristol where he completed his doctorate (Epidemiology of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in 1997. From his work on several major observational studies he is a recognised expert in the SIDS field and was made an honorary fellow and advisor to UNICEF (UK) in 2009. Peter also has research interests in infant and childhood care practices, child sleep and growth. He is the vice chair of the International Society for the Study and Prevention of Perinatal and Infant Death (ISPID) and chair of the epidemiological working group. He lives with his partner Helen and two sons Jacob and Sam. 

Activities / Findings

Blair PS, Humphreys JS, Gringras P, Taheri S, Scott N, Emond A, Henderson J,  Fleming PJ. Childhood sleep duration and associated demographic characteristics in an English cohort. SLEEP 2012;35(3):353-60.

Blair PS. Perspectives on Bed-Sharing. Current Pediatric Reviews Feb 2010;6(1):67-70.

Blair PS, Heron J, Fleming PJ. Relationship between bed sharing and breastfeeding: longitudinal, population-based analysis. Pediatrics 2010;126(5):e1119-26. Epub 2010 Oct 18.

Blair PS, Sidebotham P, Evason-Coombe C, Edmonds M, Heckstall-Smith EM, Fleming P. Hazardous cosleeping environments and risk factors amenable to change: case-control study of SIDS in south west England. BMJ 2009;339:b3666. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b3666.



Peter runs and teaches on the  short course in Basic Epidemiology at the SSCM in January each year. He also supervises International Health BSc students has successfully supervised 3 PhD students and 1 MSc student and currently co-supervises PhD Student Hannah Thornton.


  • SIDS
  • SUDI
  • growth
  • risk reduction
  • infant care practices
  • childhood sleep
  • childhood injuries
  • childhood illness


  • SIDS
  • SUDI
  • unascertained deaths


My research expertise is in the field of SIDS. In particular the investigation of background characteristics and risk factors linked with SIDS families and infants. My publications focus on factors within the infant sleep environment, such as how the infant is positioned, thermal stress, infant bedding, the use of dummies and issues surrounding co-sleeping, as well as associations with infant vulnerability at birth, parental smoking and immunisation.

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • cot death
  • epidemiology of SIDS
  • risk factors associated with SIDS
  • Selected publications

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