U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-6) today introduced legislation to help reduce the number of unexpected infant deaths in America by calling for new research and education on stillbirths and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). Every year, there are more than 25,000 stillbirths and more than 4,600 sudden unexpected infant deaths in the United States. There is no known cause for as many as half of all stillbirths in the United States, leaving many parents without answers about the reasons for these deaths.
"The loss of a child is a tragedy in itself, but being left without answers only compounds the grief for parents. We need to learn more about stillbirths and sudden unexpected infant deaths to hopefully prevent some of these deaths in the future, and provide parents with some peace of mind after a tragedy," Sen. Lautenberg said. "Our bill would improve data collection and education so medical professionals can take steps to prevent infant deaths and parents can get the information and answers they deserve."
"As a father of three children, I understand the anxiety that parents go through when having a child. We do everything possible to keep our children safe and hope they are healthy," Pallone said. "But for thousands of families every year, sudden infant death syndrome and stillbirths mean the loss of their child with no explanation. Senator Lautenberg and I introduced this bill because no parent should have to endure the tragedy of losing a child with no answers and no help. This bill will fund investigations to finally provide some answers by creating a national registry to help researchers understand the scope and impact of these tragedies and raising awareness through education campaigns that will help parents decrease risk factors that can contribute to SUID and stillbirths every year."
Lautenberg's and Pallone's bill, the "Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act," would improve the collection of critical data to determine the causes of stillbirth, Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC); increase education and awareness about how to prevent these tragedies in the future; and expand support services for families who have experienced a stillbirth or SUID loss.
Specifically it would:
Expand current data collection activities to additional states to identify the causes of stillbirth and ways to prevent it in the future.
Create a national public awareness and education campaign to educate parents and caregivers about known risk factors for sudden unexpected death in infancy and childhood.
Expand support services, such as grief counseling, for families who have experienced stillbirth or SUID.
Enhance a national case reporting system to better track SUID deaths and identify risk factors to prevent them in the future.
Expand successful child death review programs to track and analyze the circumstances surrounding infant's and children's deaths in their community.