|Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
(SIDS) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID): Home
Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)
Each year in the United States, more than 4,500 infants die
suddenly of no obvious cause. Half of these Sudden
Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) are due to Sudden Infant
Death Syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of SUID and of all
deaths among infants aged 1–12 months.
If you or someone you know has experienced the loss
of a baby, whether during pregnancy or after birth, visit
First Candle—SIDS Alliance*
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is
defined as the sudden death of an infant less than one year of age that
cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted,
including a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and
of the clinical history.
SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants aged 1–12 months, and is the third leading cause overall of infant mortality in the United States. Although the overall rate of SIDS in the United States has declined by more than 50% since 1990, rates have declined less among non-Hispanic Black and American Indian/Alaska Native infants. Preventing SIDS remains an important public health priority.
Help For Families
When An Infant or Young Child Dies* Sudden Unexplained Death
in Childhood (SUDC) Program. This brochure outlines for
- How the medical examiner and
coroner process works.
- Defines the roles of the
professionals that may be involved.
- Provides time estimates for the investigation process.
For a medical examiner or coroner to determine the
cause of the death, an investigator needs to conduct a thorough
investigation including examination of the death scene and a review of
the infant’s clinical history. A complete autopsy needs to be performed,
ideally using information the investigator has gathered. Even when a
thorough investigation is conducted, it may be difficult to separate
SIDS from other types of sudden unexpected infant deaths, especially
accidental suffocation in bed.
Sudden unexpected infant deaths are defined as
infant deaths that occur suddenly and unexpectedly, and whose manner and
cause of death are not immediately obvious prior to investigation.
After a thorough death scene investigation,
review of medical records and a complete autopsy, many of these sudden
unexpected infant deaths may be explained. Poisoning, metabolic
disorders, hyper or hypothermia, neglect and homicide, and suffocation
are all explainable causes of SUID. SIDS and cause unknown are examples
of those that remain unexplained SUID.
of Pediatrics (AAP)*
National Institiue and Child Health and Human Development (NICHD):
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
from First Candle: A program of the National Campaign for Cribs*
Childcare America Back to Sleep Campaign: American Academy of Pediatrics*
Cribs for Kids: A National Safe
Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood*
SIDS Support and Bereavement*
SIDS and Vaccination
Search PubMed for articles on SIDS
This search is being conducted on PubMed an NLM/NIH service.
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Page last reviewed: 10/24/08
Page last modified: 10/24/08
Division of Reproductive Health,
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion