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The sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of a seemingly healthy infant under one year of age is known as SIDS. The age at peak incidence is 2-4 months, with 90% of cases being less than 7 months of age. SIDS is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning it is only diagnosed after a thorough death scene investigation, interview of caregivers, a complete review of clinical and social history, and a complete forensic autopsy. SIDS should not be used as an emergency department diagnosis. Instead, “sudden unexpected infant death” (SUID) is a more accurate diagnosis when there is no clear evidence to suggest another cause of death.

SIDS can be difficult to distinguish from other types of SUIDs, particularly unintentional suffocation in an adult bed. However, when SIDS is identified as the cause of death, modifiable environmental factors may have been noted to contribute to the death. Some of these factors include sleeping on the stomach, bed-sharing with an adult, or maternal smoking.

The typical presentation begins with an infant being put to bed after feeding and subsequently found dead, usually in the same position in which he or she had been placed. Most infants are apparently healthy, however there have been reports that babies had diarrhea, vomiting, and listlessness within the two weeks prior to death.

For our newsletter and blog this month we are reviewing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The blog topics for this month are:

  • SIDS: Definition (11/6/15)
  • SIDS: Risk Factors (11/13/15)
  • SIDS: Physical Findings (11/20/15)
  • SIDS: Considering Abuse  (11/27/15)

Note: To see all posts in this topic, click here


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