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When an Infant Suddenly Dies

Updated on June 14, 2017

34 Days of Life

Alexiana Marie my beautiful granddaughter
Alexiana Marie my beautiful granddaughter


A seemingly normal infant can die suddenly and unexpectedly from unknown causes. When this happens it is referred to as Sudden Infant Death. There is no way to predict which baby this will happen to, but it happens everyday to otherwise healthy infants. Even when the parents do every thing right there is still no way to predict or prevent SIDS!

There are ways to reduce the risk.

  • Research has shown by placing infants on their backs to sleep will reduce thier risk.
  • If you smoke try to quit - not smoking during pregnancy can reduce the risk.
  • Do not allow smoking around your child - it can increase the risk.
  • Avoid over bundling and heavy blankets - overheating can increase the risk.
  • An infant should sleep alone - sleeping with a baby increases the risk
  • giving an infant a pacifier reduces the risk

SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants age 1 month to 1 year. When an infant dies for unexplained reasons police detectives will investigate the scene of the death, interview parents and all others present at the time. An autopsy will be performed to try to find a cause of death but no cause can be found. After careful examination the medical examiner will not find any reasons why this infant should have died, there is no one to blame, no one is at fault. As difficult as it is there are no answers for the distraught parents.

Diagnosing SIDS

When an infant suddenly dies the diagnosis of SIDS will only happen after all other possible causes of death are ruled out. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is not caused by an illness, choking or vomiting, immunizations, shaken baby or child abuse. It is defined as the sudden death of an infant that is unexpected and remains unexplained after a thorough forensic autopsy and a detailed death scene investigation. If any other cause of death is discovered then the cause of death is not listed as SIDS. Although there are many speculations about sudden infant death the cause of SIDS remains unknown.

If this happens to you it is not your fault!

  • Some people smoke during pregnancy and even do illicit drugs during pregnancy and their children still live.
  • In the past doctors have said to sleep infants on their stomachs they still lived.
  • Smoking around your children is never a good idea but many people do and their children still live.
  • Most parents will admit to sleeping with their infant at least once and the child lived.
  • We all tend to bundle newborns they seem to enjoy it and they live.
  • Not all babies want pacifiers but they still live.

Don't go through it alone!

Losing a child is a parents worse nightmare. Don't go through it alone! Seek help from your doctor. Medications may be available to help you deal with such a loss. Many hospitals have support groups. Talking to someone who has suffered the same type of loss can help. Professional counseling may be available to help overcome the suffering that follows SIDS.

Years Later

We still celebrate the 5 week life of Alexiana. Every year on her birthday and death date we remember the time we had with her. The experience changes you. When someone mentions they have a rainbow baby, you smile, know of their loss and their new found joy. Upon meeting others who have suffered the loss of a child, a unique bond is instantly created. It teaches you what not to say when another person suffers a loss, how to reach out to them, how to help or understand. You may never get over it but in time you just learn how to live with it and eventually smile again.


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