, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 91-93
Date: 20 Jun 2012

A commentary on changing infant death rates and a plea to use sudden infant death syndrome as a cause of death

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In his editorial entitled Changing Infant Death RatesDiagnostic Shift, Success Story, Or Both, Byard concludes that changes in rates away from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) towards another cause of death (COD) are appropriate [1]. Improved death scene investigations and autopsies leading to increased awareness of potential dangers imposed by infant sleep sites have been instrumental to the diagnostic shift occurring in cases of sudden unexpected infant death. Given abundant supportive data accumulating over the past few years, we certainly agree. But where do we go from here in order to bring about greater consensus and accuracy in establishing CODs in these cases?

Over the past four decades, the original definition of SIDS [2] has undergone several refinements focusing principally on mandating death scene investigations, circumstances of death, association with sleep, and certainty of the COD [35]. Yet, each subsequent iteration has remained exclusionary with respect to the COD