Sudden Unexpected Infant Death: Differentiating Natural From Abusive Causes in the Emergency Department | Pediatric Emergency Care
Sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs) are deaths in infants younger than 12 months that occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and without obvious cause in the emergency department (ED). Sudden infant death syndrome, the leading cause of SUID in the United States, is much more common, but fatal child abuse and neglect have been sometimes mistaken for sudden infant death syndrome. The distinction between these 2 entities can only be made after a thorough investigation of the scene, interview of caregivers, and a complete forensic autopsy. Development of ED guidelines for the reporting and evaluation of SUID, in collaboration with the local medical examiner and child death review teams, will enable ED practitioners to collect important information in a compassionate manner that will be valuable to the investigating personnel.
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