Brown Bill to Reduce Sudden Infant Death Rates Passes Senate Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) bipartisan legislation to tackle sudden and unexpected deaths that occur during infancy, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Brown’s bill, the Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act, builds on a 2014 law authored by Brown, the Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act by:

  • Supplying grants to help states, municipalities, and nonprofits to improve data collection and death scene investigations related to unexpected infant and child deaths,
  • Promoting safe sleep practices, and
  • Ensuring death reviews are completed for 100 percent of infant and child fatalities.

Despite the fact that unexplained deaths are the fifth leading cause of death in young children, right now, there are no nationwide standards for investigating and collecting data following an infant or child death. This makes it nearly impossible to determine the causes of these deaths, and what strategies our country can implement to prevent these tragedies. Brown’s legislation will help create one centralized location where the data can be shared and studied. Brown is sponsoring this bipartisan legislation with Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

“The loss of any child is devastating for families, but losing a child without knowing why can be even harder,” said Brown. “Sharing data and getting everyone on the same page is an important step toward eliminating sudden infant deaths all together.”   

Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act, builds on Brown’s Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act, which was signed into law in 2014. The Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act, enhanced the system for tracking infant deaths by building on existing activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve upon the quality and consistency of data collected during death scene investigations and autopsies to better inform prevention and intervention efforts related to stillbirths, Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID), and Sudden Unexplained Deaths in Childhood (SUDC). Enhancing data collection methods enables doctors and researchers to better track and prevent these tragic losses. The legislation also requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to disseminate information related to stillbirths, SUID, and SUDC to educate the public, health care providers, and other stakeholders involved in investigating the deaths of infants and young children so that everyone is on the same page.

Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Association, Cribs for Kids, First Candle, March of Dimes, Kids in Danger, SUDC Foundation and Within Our Reach.