Medical, Forensic and Social Quandaries of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Today

Tatiana IOV, Cristina FURNICĂ, Sofia Mihaela DAVID, Diana BULGARU-ILIESCU


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is described as the sudden, unexplained death (with no attributable cause, during sleep) of a seemingly healthy child before reaching the first year of life. Statistically, SIDS is recognized today as a leading cause of death in infants aged 1 to 12 months. In the present article the authors have analyzed known risk factors, classifications and current standards of forensic investigation while highlighting the necessity of detailed clinical history, autopsy, scene of death examination and lab findings (radiology, metabolic anomalies, infectious diseases and toxicology) in SIDS diagnosis. For an infant death to be considered SIDS, all other possible causes of death must be first excluded, the diagnosis requiring detailed collection and analysis of antemortem patient data and a complete autopsy. Although the forensic methods of today are more exact, the distinction between SIDS and other causes of death (e.g. unintentional asphyxiation, infanticide) remains very difficult in some cases.


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; risk factors; diagnosis; differential diagnosis; autopsy;

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