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About SIDS: Community Reaction

The Community’s Reaction to Sudden Unexpected Infant and Child Death

It is important that SIDS parents understand that some members of the community may have little or no information about SIDS. Some members of the community may blame parents for the death and may view police or medical involvement in a SIDS case as a clear sign that the death occurred under suspicious circumstances. Unfortunately, in some communities, even today, SIDS parents are wrongly suspected of causing the death of their baby. It is also true that people in the community may be extremely sympathetic and want to express their support and concern for the parents and family. They may, however, be unsure or uncomfortable about how to go about expressing their support. The bereaved parent needs to deal with each person and situation on an individual basis, depending on that person's relationship to the family.

Relatives and Other Caregivers

Sometimes a relative or baby-sitter or childcare provider may have been caring for the infant when the death occurred. It is not uncommon for parents to blame the relative or baby-sitter. Parents may blame themselves for having left the baby with someone else. It is natural that they may not be able to understand that the caregiver is also experiencing sorrow and guilt. This is a particularly painful situation, and counseling is usually helpful for all involved.