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A New Stance on SIDS

Pediatric group revises recommendation for investigating unexplained deaths

(HealthDay) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics has changed its views on investigating sudden infant deaths, says this Associated Press report appearing on CNN.

After an infant dies suddenly, with no apparent explanation for the death, doctors must figure out if the death was the result of sudden infant death syndrome, commonly called SIDS, or if the parent or caregiver might have played a role in the child's death.

Last winter, the pediatrics group said all unexplained infant deaths should be checked by a child-abuse expert to rule out murder. This stance angered parents of SIDS babies because they felt it made all parents look guilty. The policy statement also was criticized by the National Association of Medical Examiners, which said having outside experts examining a body before coroners did could corrupt autopsy results.

So, the group has revised its statment, now suggesting that medical examiners use additional medical specialists -- such as pediatricians, pediatric pathologists and radiologists -- when investigating sudden, unexplained infant deaths.

SIDS claims about 3,000 young lives every year, and scientists still don't know what causes these deaths. But more cases of SIDS may be murder than many doctors realize, this news-service report on CNN says.

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