Sudden Unexpected Death of an Infant (SUDI)

What is Sudden Unexpected Death of an Infant? (SUDI)

Sudden Unexpected Death of an Infant is any infant death that is unexpected and initially unexplained.

Frequently, a cause of death is determined after a thorough investigation and autopsy by a medical examiner and coroner. The deaths that remain unexplained are defined as SIDS. Therefore, SIDS is a type of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death.

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What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome? (SIDS)

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of an infant under 1 year of age, which remains unexplained after a thorough investigation including a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene and review of the clinical history.

In the United States, SIDS is the major cause of death in infants from 1 month to 1 year. Most deaths occur between 2-4 months of age. Typically, a seemingly healthy infant dies suddenly and unexpectedly, usually during a period of sleep. A diagnosis is made after all the possible causes of death have been excluded. SIDS can occur in families of any race, socio-economic status, religion or nationality.

Causes of SIDS remain unexplained. However, SIDS is not caused by suffocation, child abuse, immunizations, vomiting, choking or by minor illnesses such as a cold or infection. SIDS is not contagious.

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What practices may contribute to Sudden Unexpected Death of an Infant?

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Safe Sleep Recommendations

The most important step to prevent unexpected death is to provide a safe sleeping environment for all infants. Every year, some infants die while sleeping. Parents can reduce the risks of this tragedy by knowing and following these simple guidelines that will help meet the goal of making sure the sleeping baby’s breathing remains clear and unobstructed, and that the baby does not get into a position that could cause injury.

Review these steps with anyone who cares for the baby (relatives, grandparents, childcare providers, babysitters).

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Is SIDS preventable?

It is important to follow the risk reduction steps above. However, because risk factors are not, in and of themselves, causes of SIDS, it is not always possible to prevent unexplained infant death (SIDS).

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Where can I get more information?

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