SIDS Program Manual SIDS & Infant Death Program Manual and Trainer's Guide Trainer's Guide

What is SIDS?

What SIDS is Not

Emergency vehiicle

Maltreatment, Child Abuse and Infanticide

It has only been during the past few decades, around the same time that SIDS was being defined, that child abuse and the maltreatment of children has gained the attention of the government and medical community.

It is extremely important to understand that SIDS is not child abuse and SIDS families should always be approached in a non-accusatory manner. Retrospective studies that looked at infanticide and child abuse clearly and conclusively found that child abuse is not a cause of SIDS. Several cases of infanticide, sensationalized by the media, have had severely detrimental effects on the public’s perceptions of what is SIDS.92 Research indicates that approximately 5 percent of SIDS deaths are the result of homicide.93 Statistically it is possible for a subsequent SIDS death to occur in a family, but it is improbable.

The AAP statement, Distinguishing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome From Child Abuse Fatalities, provides professionals with information and guidelines to avoid distressing or stigmatizing families of SIDS victims while allowing for the accumulation of appropriate evidence in potential cases of death by infanticide. The differentiation between SIDS and fatal child abuse can be a critical diagnostic decision.