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Invited Critique
March 2003

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Need for Simple Definition but Detailed Diagnostic Criteria

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2003 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2003

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(3):293. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.3.293

Since the term SIDS was first used 33 years ago, the definition of this syndrome has caused lots of controversy, some tragedies, and many blessings. Without the focus on SIDS as an entity, the epidemic of infants dying in the prone sleeping position would probably have been prolonged. That the back-to-sleep campaign has saved many thousands of infants' lives is quantitatively much more important than the sad fact that the syndrome has been used to conceal homicide. The term per exclusion is of course a great problem constituting a persistent temptation to use it as a diagnostic dustbin.

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