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 most common circumstance of death in infants from 1 month to 1 year. Most deaths happen between 2 to 4 months of age. Typically, a seemingly healthy infant dies suddenly and unexpectedly, usually during a period of sleep. SIDS can occur in families of any race, socio-economic status, religion or nationality. SIDS is likely due to multiple causes which have yet to be understood. 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.
After thorough investigation that excludes all identifiable causes of death, the death will be certified as having an undetermined cause. This is similar to the use of “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” in other jurisdictions. Risk factors for SUID identified during investigation that remain of uncertain significance for death may also be listed on the death certificate for epidemiologic purposes.
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