This March, we would like to take a moment to honor the parents and children who have been impacted by Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC).
The topic of SUDC is very close to the heart of Buzzy’s. Hudson, whom Buzzy’s Bees was founded in memory of, passed away from SUDC. Our mission is to support families whose experience is most closely aligned with Hudson’s family. Of the 45 families who have participated in our Give Grief a Voice Project so far, 12 were impacted by SUDC, and 9 by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Many families who have received financial gifts from Buzzy’s lost a child to SUDC or SIDS.
In support of SUDC awareness month, pioneered by the SUDC Foundation, we are sharing some information about SUDC, in order to help explain the unexplainable.
What is SUDC?
SUDC is defined as the death of a child between the age of 1 and 18, where the cause of death remains undetermined after an autopsy and other methods of investigation. As the name implies, the cause of SUDC is unknown at this time, though many theories exist. There is also no known preventative measure for SUDC, as children who are impacted are usually determined to be perfectly healthy, only to never wake up again after going to sleep. According to the SUDC foundation, 450 children died from SUDC in 2021, and BIPOC populations were more likely to experience SUDC than White.
How is SUDC different from SIDS?
SUDC and SIDS are very similar, with the primary difference being the age of the child at the time of their death. SIDS is an umbrella term for children who inexplicably pass that are under the age of 1, while SUDC is an overarching term for children who die without a determined cause between the ages of 1 and 18.
Additionally, studies have found that SIDS is partially preventable with safe sleep practices. While studies of SUDC have found some correlation to seizures as a potential cause, less is known about them and their relation to SUDC and sleep.
How can I support families impacted by SUDC?
Grief impacts every family differently, and as we have discovered with our work, many struggle with what to say to grieving parents who have experienced such a loss. One thing to keep in mind is to take the lead from the parents and their process of grieving and healing. Many parents want to talk about their children and keep their memory alive, something we embrace wholeheartedly in our mission to change grief culture.
SUDC is unimaginable for many. By talking to those impacted by SUDC and raising awareness, perhaps we can open the conversation for parents to talk about their loss, and thus as a community better support them. For more information on supporting bereaved families impacted by SUDC, take a few moments to read this article from the SUDC foundation.