First Candle is pleased to announce that the Stillbirth and SUID Prevention, Education and Awareness Act of 2009 was filed on July 14 by Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ. A companion bill was filed in the House by Frank Pallone, Jr., D-NJ-6. This bill will improve the collection of critical data to determine the causes of stillbirth, SIDS and SUID, increase education and awareness about how to prevent these tragedies in the future and expand support services for families who have experienced a stillbirth, SIDS or SUID loss.
Every year there are more than 25,000 stillbirths in the United States. For more than half these deaths there is no known cause, leaving parents with more questions than answers as to why the baby died. The bill would expand activities to identify the causes of stillbirth, identify ways to prevent it in the future and increase education and awareness about the issue among healthcare providers and parents.
In addition, there are more than 4,600 sudden unexpected infant deaths each year (including SIDS) and 200 sudden unexpected deaths of children between the ages of one and four. This bill encourages states to complete scene investigations to better understand why these children died, establishes a national database to track these deaths and identify risk factors to prevent them in the future, supports more comprehensive reviews and creates a national public awareness campaign to educate parents and caregivers.
“The loss of a child is devastating, and no parent should have to live without knowing why their child has died. We need to learn more about stillbirths and sudden infant deaths so we can not only give parents peace of mind after a tragedy, but hopefully prevent some of these deaths in the future,” Senator Lautenberg said. “Our bill would improve data collection and education efforts so we can better understand the cause of these deaths and help parents get the information and answers they need to prevent them.”
Specifically, the bill would:
“The bill introduced by Lautenberg and Pallone is a dream come true for parents,” said Dr. Marian Sokol, President of First Candle, one of the nation’s leading nonprofits dedicated to safe pregnancies and the survival of babies through the first years of life. “The death of a child to any cause is heartbreaking, but the sudden, unexpected nature of these deaths leave parents with many more questions than answers as to why their baby died. First Candle will be working at the grassroots level torecruit support for this important legislation that will no doubt bring us one step closer to a future where all babies survive and thrive.”
In addition to First Candle, the bill has been endorsed by the CJ Foundation for SIDS and Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood Program (based in New Jersey), Cribs for Kids, Northwest Infant Survival Alliance (NISA), Home Safety Council, Safe Kids USA, all nonprofits working to stop infant mortality, as well as the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (IAC&ME) and the National Sheriffs’ Association.
Last Updated: Jan 7, 2010