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Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

The Importance of Infant Safe Sleeping in Child Welfare

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On November 15th, 2011 the House and Senate introduced the Stillbirth and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID, or also known as SIDS) Prevention, Education, and Awareness Act of 2011 (H.R.3418 and S. 1862, respectively). If enacted, these bills would help us better understand causes and prevent stillbirths and SUID by:

  • Expanding data collection activities & establishing a national database to track SUID deaths;
  • Developing a public awareness and education campaign about risk factors and the importance of prenatal care;
  • Expanding support services for families; and
  • Utilizing scene investigations, autopsies, & child death review programs to help understand causes of SUID.
Read the press release here.

Did you know?

  • There are more than 25,000 stillbirths in the United States every year, of which approximately half have no known cause. The causes of death for the rest are related to birth defects, infections, umbilical cord problems, and chronic conditions of the mother.
  • Each year, more than 4,600 deaths are classified as sudden unexpected infant deaths in the United States.
  • Each year, approximately 200 children between the ages of 1 and 4 die each year without an obvious cause.

Minnesota has enacted legislation to address the need for services for parents and families of victim of SIDS, state reporting requirements, requirements to review SIDS deaths and responsibilities of licensed caregivers to reduce the risk of SIDS (e.g. child care and child foster care providers).

How is this related to child welfare policy?
It's simple. Child welfare workers are out in the field with children and families every day. Should this bill be enacted, child welfare workers will more than likely be part of the national education campaign on safe sleeping practices and prevention techniques to help reduce the risk of SUID and SIDS. Child deaths are always a concern in the child welfare field, and with increased knowledge of SUID/SIDS, child welfare workers and other authorities may be able to help prevent some deaths among young children.

Here are some tips on prevention and a flyer on the Dos and Don'ts of Safe Sleeping that you can pass out to parents.

Do you believe these policies will help with prevention, education and awareness of stillbirth and SUID? How do you see this information impacting families and workers in the child welfare system?

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