Research & Statistics
Critical Program Function: To provide State and local agencies with data on SIDS, sudden unexpected infant death and other conditions in order to investigate hazards, conduct needs assessments, determine risk factors and behaviors of parents, families and other caretakers and implement and monitor tracking systems for services and outcome indicators.
For SUID/SIDS program staff to develop and evaluate risk reduction efforts, establish the need for bereavement support services or provide accurate training and education, program staff requires up-to-date data on fetal, perinatal and infant death and morbidity at the local and State levels. State and local providers need to understand the strengths and limitations of the data collection systems and data analysis methodology that exist in United States.
Each State is responsible for the collection of vital statistics, which includes the recording of vital events such as births and deaths. The recording of such events occurs in the jurisdiction in which the event occurs: all 50 States, 5 U.S. territories, New York City and the District of Columbia.
Vital statistics collected by the State or jurisdiction are provided to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), the CPSC and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. These vital statistics provide a critical source of public health data which is mostly complete and generally consistent among jurisdictions.
The data quality is limited, however, by the lack of timeliness, accuracy and poor reporting of some events such as fetal deaths. Data quality is also limited by the lack of a national standard data set for births and deaths. For example, whether or not an autopsy was completed is listed on the death certificate by most States, but this information is not collected nationally.