Researchers Testing New Database To Gather Info on Sudden Infant Deaths

Researchers are testing a new database to track cases of sudden unexpected infant deaths, and they have published preliminary results from their pilot in the journal Pediatrics, Fierce Health IT reports (Bowman, Fierce Health IT, 1/9).

The number of reported cases of sudden unexpected infant deaths has declined by 50% since 1990, according to MyHealthNewsDaily/Fox News. Researchers said they hope the database will help determine whether the decline can be attributed to public health improvements or changes in how deaths are recorded (MyHealthNewsDaily/Fox News, 1/9).

About the Database

CDC and the National Center for Child Death Review collaborated on the database, known as the SUID Case Registry (Fierce Health IT, 1/9).

The database builds on existing mortality records by adding information such as:

  • The events surrounding the infant's death;
  • Medical histories of the infant and his or her mother;
  • Information on caregivers' education and criminal record; and
  • Information about the infant's sleep position and crib (MyHealthNewsDaily/Fox News, 1/9).

Pilot Program

Over a three-year period, researchers implemented the database across five states:

  • Colorado;
  • Georgia;
  • Michigan;
  • New Jersey; and
  • New Mexico.

The pilot program, which currently is in its third year, has helped identify 1,500 SUID cases so far. Researchers said the program has "enhanced their capacity" to collect information about SUID cases and has improved the data quality of SUID case reviews.

Goals of the Database

Researchers said they hope the database will contribute to research on possible causes of SUID cases.

The study states, "Because surveillance findings will identify unsafe sleep practices that are related to injury, these findings and recommendations can be used to inform prevention activities and public health messages aimed at reducing potentially preventable infant deaths" (Fierce Health IT, 1/9).

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