What is SIDS/SUID?


In the last several years, the terms connoting sudden infant death have become confusing, not only to parents, but also to professionals and researchers.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control), in an attempt to clarify the issue, suggested that SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) be used as a broad term that encompasses all sudden infant deaths. This would include SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), accidental deaths (such as suffocation and strangulation), sudden natural deaths (such as those caused from infections, cardiac or metabolic disorders, and neurological conditions), and homicides.1

Some others however, use SUID to mean Sudden Unexplained Infant Death. For example when a medical examiner, even after a thorough scene investigation, cannot tell the difference between SIDS and suffocation, they will often use this term to mean it is unexplained. Other medical examiners might call these “undetermined” and others would still call them SIDS. Since there is usually no way to tell the difference between suffocation and SIDS at the autopsy, the scene investigation is of utmost importance. Increasingly, investigators are using doll reenactments at the home to help parents clarify the situation surrounding their infant’s death.

There are about 4,000 sudden infant deaths a year in the US. About ½ of these are diagnosed as SIDS or unexplained and the other ½ are diagnosed as due to other causes.

1. http://www.cdc.gov/SIDS/