Despite success at reducing SIDS rates by over 50 percent in recent years, SIDS remains the leading cause of death for babies one month to one year old. SIDS continues to strike unexpectedly and takes families down a terrifying life-transforming journey of unthinkable grief and loss.
Many states do not provide consistent trainings about SIDS to first responders and day care workers other than the Back to Sleep program information. Nor do they offer bereavement support to SIDS families.
In 2007 Congress declared October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Many states have laws regarding Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Our babies are still dying of SIDS because states vary in SIDS definition interpretation, coding of deaths; and the guidance or support given to coroners, medical examiners and fatality review boards. Only eleven states require special training about SIDS for child care personnel, firefighters, emergency medical technicians or law enforcement officials. These states are Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Visit The National Conference of State Legislatures to view your state’s law on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Please contact your state’s legislative representative and encourage them to bring your state current with the needs of the nation by requiring special trainings about SIDS, adopting a national definition of SIDS and detailed protocol for medical coding of infant deaths, along with a provision of bereavement counseling.
To learn more about SIDS or how to reduce your baby’s risk call visit www.firstcandle.org
If you or someone you know has experienced the death of a baby to any cause, English and bilingual crisis counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling First Candle at 1-800-221-7437
If you would like further information on raising SIDS awareness visit these excellent websites:
Resource box: Jewel Sample is a children’s writer and award-winning author of “Flying Hugs and Kisses” books. For more information about her background and publications visit her at Jewel’s Sand Box News