The importance of a forensics investigation of sudden infant death syndrome: recommendations for developing, low and middle income countries

Steven A. Koehler

Abstract


Sudden infant deaths syndrome (SIDS), the sudden and unexpecteddeath of a normal and healthy infant, has remaineda medical and forensic mystery. Despite years of research allattempts to ascertain the exact cause and manner of deathhave failed. The information collected during the course ofthe comprehensive investigation by the various investigationagencies and analysis of the data has not been in vain. Theepidemiological, demographic, and pathological data haveidentified distinctive features and risk factors associated withinfants that died from SIDS. Epidemiological data has providedthe unique characteristics of infants that died of SIDSthat differentiates them from non-SIDS infants. Analysis ofinformation from the death scene investigation has identifiedkey risk factor behaviour associated with SIDS, namelythe prone sleeping position. Pathological examination of theinternal organs, specifically the brain, has shown some differencesbetween SIDS and non-SIDS infants. However, togain a complete picture of SIDS data, all countries around theworld must provide information, even basic information, tounderstand this syndrome better. Developing countries mustunderstand their role and importance in developing plans toinvestigate, collect, and disseminate SIDS data to the rest ofthe world. This paper provides general guidelines for the investigationof SIDS in developing countries.

Keywords


Sudden infant deaths syndrome; SIDS; Death investigation; Forensics; Developing countries

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References


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