Washington, D.C. – Recently, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) along with Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Doug Jones (D-AL) applauded the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) passage of Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act. This bipartisan legislation would strengthen efforts to investigate and collect information when a young infant or child dies. Scarlett’s Sunshine Act 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.
“Whenever a young child or infant dies it is a tragedy. However, when one dies without explanation we are left in shock and in the dark about how to help other parents prevent such a tragedy,” said Senator Casey. “We are simply not doing enough to understand why certain infants and young children have died unexpectedly, and we must do more to learn what is causing these deaths. That’s why 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.”
“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 and Child Care Aware.
Read more about the Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act here.