Columbus – Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D - Columbus) has jointly sponsored legislation, Senate Bill 198, with Senator Shannon Jones (R – Springboro) to bring awareness to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, a growing epidemic in Ohio, and to reduce the infant health disparities between racial and ethnic populations. The bill would designate October as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month and encourage the completion of a sudden unexplained infant death investigation reporting form (SUIDI reporting form) developed by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention whenever a child one year of age or younger dies suddenly when in apparent good health.  Ohio is 47th in the nation for infant mortality, and 49th in the nation for African American babies.

The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) research on Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) focuses on efforts to standardize and improve data collected at infant death scenes and promote consistent classification and reporting of cause and manner of death for SUID cases. By improving national reporting, we aim to reduce SUIDs using improved data to monitor trends and identify those at risk.[1] Some of the improvements include:

  • Updating the Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation (SUIDI) Reporting Form.
  • Conducting regional train-the-trainer academies to establish teaching teams in each state on how to conduct comprehensive infant death investigations and train others to do them. CDC is also working with the Navajo nation to improve infant death scene investigations.
  • Developing the SUID Case Registry to generate public health surveillance information about SUID at the national, state, and local levels that is more detailed than what is currently available.[2]

“As we work to improve our investigations, reporting and data collection of infant deaths, it is even more important for us to look at why our African American babies are dying at 2 ½ to three times the rate of our Caucasian babies.  We have an opportunity to look at consistent data to develop and expand strategies to eliminate these unacceptable disparities and prevent infant deaths among all of our babies, stated Senator Tavares.  Senate Bill 198 is the initial action step we are taking in response to the information and ideas we gathered during the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee field hearings on Infant Mortality hosted by the chair, Senator Shannon Jones and I,” concluded Tavares. 


[1] Id.

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