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3-18. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

a. Appropriate Title. Sudden infant death syndrome, commonly known as "crib death," is the sudden, unexplained death of an infant without any warning. SIDS usually occurs in apparently normal, healthy infants. Currently, no one is sure how to prevent the death of an infant from SIDS. A thorough autopsy afterward fails to reveal the cause of death. SIDS kills about 10,000 infants each year, the infants being between the ages of 1 week and 12 months. A number of theories have been proposed to explain SIDS, but no one has been able to positively identify the cause.

b. Actions Following an Infant's Death.

(1) Initiate CPR. Even though the infant may have been dead for some time, initiating and continuing CPR until you reach the hospital allows the family to feel that everything possible was done.

(2) Provide support. Give the family support and help relieve their feelings by guilt. Parents of a child who has died from SIDS often feel very guilty. Remind these parents that SIDS happens to babies who seem to be very healthy and who are receiving the best parental care.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015