Sudden Death Syndrome Awareness Month
updated: Oct 10, 2013, 10:52 AM
Source: Public Health Department
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is defined as the sudden death of an infant who is less than one
year of age that is unexpected and cannot be explained after a thorough case investigation. October is
designated as a time to raise awareness about SIDS. In California, 2011 data shows that SIDS is the
second leading cause of death for infants between 28 days of age to less than one year. Despite years of
research, the exact cause(s) of SIDS remain unknown.
Santa Barbara County data on child deaths reflects SIDS deaths in our county.
Year-----SIDS Deaths---Undetermined Deaths/Co-sleeping
To reduce the sudden unexpected death in infancy, "Back to Sleep" campaigns have been initiated to
educate parents, caregivers and the public about placing babies to sleep on their backs. Other messages
to reduce the risk of sudden infant death include putting babies on firm sleep surface, never smoking
around a baby, not letting a baby overheat during sleep and keeping soft objects out of a baby's sleep
area. Prenatal care, breastfeeding, immunizations and regular well-child checks are also important
preventive measures. These messages have helped reduce the incidence of SIDS.
Locally, there is a Child Death Review Team that reviews child deaths to identify possible contributors to
the cause of death. The inter-disciplinary Child Death Review Team brings law enforcement, medical,
and community stakeholders together to review individual deaths with the goal of preventing future
Whenever a child dies it is always a tragedy. The Public Health Department Maternal, Child, Adolescent
Health Program has Public Health Nurses who make home visits with families who have experienced loss
to provide bereavement support and link them with local resources.
The messages contained in the following link have helped reduce the incidence of SIDS:
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