The death of a child is considered the most stressful and enduring loss for parents.1 Research indicates that compared to the loss of a parent or spouse, the loss of a child is more intense.2 One reason is that for many parents, the parent-child bond is integral to the parents' identity.
Currently, the deaths of children account for less than 5 percent of all deaths in the United States. Maternal and Child Health (MCH) program services have vastly improved life expectancy across the population, especially with immunization programs and improved sanitation and nutrition. While such deaths have become less common, for those parents, families, communities and health professionals who experience these deaths, it is devastating, and the impact is far-reaching.
The purpose of this manual and accompanying training guide is to support the staff of local and State programs to provide comprehensive Sudden Unexpected Infant Death/Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SUID/SIDS) risk reduction and bereavement program services so that children have the best possible chance for survival and if a child does die, his family is appropriately supported.