Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death of an infant under the age of one.

The cause of SIDS is unknown. As such, it is typically offered as an explanation when there are no answers. Campaigns to change sleeping habits have led to a decrease in the number of infant deaths, but they have not helped to shed light on the cause of death.

Research from the Mayo Clinic showed that up to 15% of all SIDS deaths could be linked to Long QT Syndrome, an electrical heart condition. If there is a known cause for what takes the life of one out of every ten babies, then why isn’t there more discussion about it? Why aren’t surviving parents and siblings getting their hearts checked?

Electrical conditions, like Long QT Syndrome, create challenges for pathologists determining the cause of death because once the heart stops beating, evidence of the electrical condition disappears. There are two ways to get around this. The child’s tissue can be submitted for a genetic test. The parents and surviving siblings can get an electrocardiogram (ECG).

We believe that ECG exams should be a standard of care for any family that has lost someone under the age of fifty, suddenly and unexpectedly.

For more information about SIDS, visit our Best Resources List.