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CDC Releases Tool to Aid Infant Death Scene Investigation
For the first time, law enforcement, coroners and medical examiners will
have the information they need to more accurately determine the cause of
a child's death with the Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation
Each year in the United States, more than 4,500 infants die suddenly,
with no obvious cause. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading
cause of sudden infant death, and the third leading cause of infant mortality
in the United States. The cause of SIDS is unknown.
"The death of any infant is a profound tragedy, and the family deserves
to know exactly why their baby died," said Dr. Tomashek. "A complete
autopsy, a thorough death scene investigation, and a review of the clinical
records are essential to establishing a valid cause of death.
The newly designed form will be used by states, counties and local jurisdictions on a voluntary basis to gather information about the circumstances surrounding all sudden, unexplained infant deaths. To standardize investigations of, and reports on, the causes of sudden infant deaths, the Division of Reproductive Health at the CDC initiated a national Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Initiative in 2004. CDC has been collaborating with organizations representing those who investigate infant death scenes, use data gathered at scenes, and support parents who have had an infant die.
The CDC will train death investigators in how to consistently collect data at the death scene and accurately report their findings on the death certificate. CDC will conduct five regional trainings throughout the United States. The first regional training will be held in St.
Louis, Missouri on June 12-15, 2006 and the second academy will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 18-21, 2006. Until now, there were no national training materials on how to conduct an infant death scene investigation.
More information on SIDS is at www.cdc.gov/SIDS
This page last updated March 1, 2006
States Department of Health and Human Services