Distinguishing sudden infant death syndrome from child abuse fatalities

Kent P. Hymel, Robert W. Block, Roberta Ann Hibbard, Carole Jenny, Nancy D. Kellogg, Betty S. Spivack, John Stirling, David L. Corwin, Joanne Klevens, Tammy Piazza Hurley, Randy Hanzlick, Michael Graham, Tracey S. Corey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Fatal child abuse has been mistaken for sudden infant death syndrome. When a healthy infant younger than 1 year dies suddenly and unexpectedly, the cause of death may be certified as sudden infant death syndrome. Sudden infant death syndrome is more common than infanticide. Parents of sudden infant death syndrome victims typically are anxious to provide unlimited information to professionals involved in death investigation or research. They also want and deserve to be approached in a nonaccusatory manner. This clinical report provides professionals with information and suggestions for procedures to help avoid stigmatizing families of sudden infant death syndrome victims while allowing accumulation of appropriate evidence in potential cases of infanticide. This clinical report addresses deficiencies and updates recommendations in the 2001 American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement of the same name.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-427
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Child abuse
  • SIDS
  • Sudden infant death syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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