Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another opinion on the number of SIDS cases declining

One of my online friends that had a son pass away from SIDS last year had another confirming opinion that SIDS cases aren't really decreasing. I've said for awhile that it's not so much that the numbers are going down as it is that different coroner's offices and even states are reporting the deaths in a different manner. Some states, for instance, no longer use "SIDS" as a cause of death at all. Instead, they use "Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)". Although these deaths happen in the same manner and mean the same thing, they aren't included in SIDS statistics. So while it might appear that a state such as Oregon has had no SIDS deaths in the past three years, really it's just because they are reporting those deaths using a different terminology.

My friend's son is one of these children that was reported as a "SUID", even though his death follows the classic characteristics of SIDS.

She writes: "There were no risks, no contributing factors; the ME told me ____ was a very “healthy” baby. As many of you know this term is used as a classification for any infant death that does not have an apparent cause of death to begin with, meaning if after the investigation is done and they find viruses or accidental suffocation as a cause – it can also be under this classification. I asked the ME why SIDS was not used. Oregon (the state we are in) no longer uses SIDS as a cause of death. I looked at the health statics from my state previous years and SIDS was used previously (as late as 2007). The ME said the term SIDS was used as a catch all and was too vague; they wanted to be more accurate."

This is extremely confusing because I personally don't see how the term SUIDS is anymore accurate than SIDS, considering the fact that it's still unexplained. It might just be a question of semantics. 

When this parent questioned organizations and agencies as to whether or not her son's death was counted as a SIDS case, the answer was no. She writes: "(His) death is classified along with about 1700 other SUIDs that are explained (like accidental suffocation) and unexplained (like his)."

This happens to go along with the risk factors and preventive methods that I was talking about earlier. I really urge you to read the article on NPR about SIDS cases that I posted in the previous entry. Still fuming over that one.

I have no intention of making this a cause and getting all gung-ho over it, but this is really irritating to me. Many organizations use the supposed decline of SIDS cases as ways to promote their products and urge parents to use the "prevention" methods. the fact is, SIDS might NOT be decreasing. In fact, it might just be a matter of the reporting of the deaths that is actually changing and not the deaths themselves.

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