H.R. 669 – Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act

Posted on | July 10, 2013 | Comments Off on H.R. 669 – Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act

legislationMost of what you hear about legislation revolves around controversial ideas and issues.  So rarely do you hear about those pieces of legislation that seem small and seemingly unimportant but have the potential to make great changes.  The Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act is one of these simple pieces of legislation.  It will improve each state’s comprehensive death scene investigations as well as standardized autopsies in order to ensure that all professionals are provided with the same education regarding the definition of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death.  It will also increase community awareness of Safe to Sleep and support for grieving families. 

Surprisingly at this time, diagnosis and determination of cause of death varies not only from state to state but within states from medical examiner to medical examiner.  This makes it difficult to maintain an accurate national record of the number of SIDS incidence across the country.  This legislation would also “modify the national death case reporting system to assure that such system provides for population-based data for ages 0-4 years of age and facilitates the understanding of the root causes, rates, and trends or SUID and SUDC with respect to such ages”.  Why is this important?  Consider this, without a national definition of what consititues a sudden unexpected infant death, it makes it difficult to determine the prevelance and thus becomes more difficult to provide the proper education to help reduce these incidents.

It seems that there should already be a common definition that is being used but this is not the case.  This legislation will help to aleviate this problem and help research and advocacy groups better understand the prevelance of these deaths.  This is the first real legislation that has ever gotten this far in regards to SIDS and other sudden unexpected infant and child deaths.  This legislation would also allow for grant money to be funded to organizations that provide education on safe sleep as well as bereavement support for families who have suffered from a sudden unexpected infant or child loss.  The opportunity to increase awareness and continue to provide support to grieving families is something we should all be contacting our representatives about. 

In this time of bi-partisan fighting over highly controversial topics, this legislation could have a positive impact on families and children across the country without the controversary.  The bill is sponsored by Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) and co-sponsored by Peter King (R-NY), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Charles Rangle (D-NY), Julia Brown (D-CA), and Ann Kuster (D-NH).  Send your thoughts about the importance of this legislation to not only your local representative but also those listed as sponsors of this bill.   Moving it through to a vote would go a long way in bringing national attention to this issue and the need for continued funding for education and support. 

Track this bill at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr669

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