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What is SIDS?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the "sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene and review of the clinical history." [Willinger M., James LS, Catz C. Defining the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): deliberations of an expert panel convened by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Pediatric Pathology. 1991:11:677-684]

SIDS is now looked at in the context of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths, a grouping made up of SIDS, Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation, and Ill-defined and Unknown Causes. All share similar risk factors describe in the American Academy of Pediatrics safe infant sleep guidelines to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths. The category of SUID was developed because of variations over time and among medical examiners in the use of the component diagnoses.  By examining all three components, we can determine that a decline in SIDS rates represents a true decline rather than a shift in diagnosis.