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Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act Would Increase Federal and State Efforts to Investigate and Collect Information When an Infant or Young Child Dies

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that his bipartisan legislation to strengthen efforts to investigate and collect information when a young infant or child dies, the Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act, has passed the U.S. Senate. This bill would help combat Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood by providing grants to help states, municipalities and nonprofits improve data collection and death scene investigations related to unexpected infant and child deaths. The bill would also help promote safe sleep practices for children and support local efforts to conduct infant and child death reviews. With its passage in the Senate, the legislation will go to President Trump for his signature.

“Scarlett’s Sunshine is named after a little girl who was lost to Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood,” said Senator Casey. “We must do more to understand why certain infants and young children have died unexpectedly, and to learn what is causing these deaths. I introduced the Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act to help increase our understanding of the causes of unexplained infant and child deaths and to help us develop new tools to prevent and reduce such deaths in the future. I am pleased that Congress has passed the Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act and I look forward to seeing its passage into law.”

“On January 8th, 2017, our lives were shattered when our beautiful, healthy, thriving 16-month-old daughter, Scarlett Lillian Pauley, went to sleep and never woke up. And we do not know why," said Stephanie Zarecky and Ryan Pauley. "Losing a child is the single greatest pain we could ever imagine and living without answers magnifies the tragedy exponentially. We try every day to spread Scarlett's Sunshine, allowing her memory to shine on and bring light to unexplained death in childhood, the medical mystery that took her from us. We thank Senator Casey for his leadership on Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act in honor of Scarlett and all of the other children who are deeply loved and missed.”

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death is any sudden and unexpected death that occurs during infancy (from birth to age one), including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other unforeseen deaths; SIDS is the fourth leading cause of infant deaths. Similarly, Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood is the unexpected death of a child over the age of one. Currently, there are no nationwide standards for investigating and collecting data following an infant or child death. This often makes it impossible to determine the causes of these deaths, and decide what strategies can be implemented to help prevent these tragedies.

The Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act is endorsed by:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, March of Dimes, Children’s Hospital Association, Cribs for Kids, First Candle, SUDC Foundation, KID: Fighting for Product Safety, Aaron Matthew SIDS Research Guild of Seattle Children’s Hospital, Child Care Aware and Safe Kids Worldwide.

Read more about the Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act here.