Each year in the United States, about 4,000 infants die suddenly of no immediately, obvious cause. About half of these are due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of all deaths among infants aged 1–12 months. Almost all SIDS deaths occur without any warning or symptoms when the infant is thought to be sleeping.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS):
The sudden death of an infant under age 1 that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation has been conducted, including a complete autopsy, an examination of the death scene, and a review of the clinical history.
*SIDS is a diagnosis of exclusion- given when all known and possible causes of death have been ruled out (Krous et al. 2005).
Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC):
The sudden and unexplained death of a child over the age of twelve months, which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation is conducted including a complete autopsy, an examination of the death scene, and a review of the clinical history.
*SUDC is also a diagnosis of exclusion – given when all known and possible causes of death have been ruled out.
Most SUDC deaths occur between the ages of 1 and 3, but researchers have looked at cases of children as old as 15.
The incidence of SUDC is approximately 1.2 deaths per 100,000 children. In comparison, the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is 54 deaths per 100,000 live births for SIDS (United States, 2005) making SIDS 45 times more common.