Jaime Herrera Beutler, colleagues reintroduce bipartisan Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3), Gwen Moore (WI-4) and Tom Cole (OK-4) reintroduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill yesterday – the Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected DeathAct – to provide additional, critical support for advocates and families impacted by Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC). A companion measure was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Bob Casey, Johnny Isakson, Sherrod Brown and Doug Jones. 

The bill would provide grants to states, municipalities and nonprofits to help improve data collection and death scene investigations for deaths categorized as SUDC or SUID when it happens to infants under 12 months old (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, falls under the SUID umbrella). Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 445 children fell under the SUDC category in 2016, while 3,607 died under the SUID category.

“I remember talking to a father from my home state of Washington who told me the heartbreaking story of losing a child to SIDS. Stories like those have driven me to work on legislation that would help prevent other families from experiencing such tragedies. I’m proud to join this bipartisan effort that strengthens our ability to identify possible causes to sudden and unexpected deaths among infants and children. We’re also working toward prevention by better educating providers and parents on safe practices,”Herrera Beutlersaid. 

“I’m honored to join my colleagues in reintroducing this important bill in memory of Scarlett Lillian Pauley and to help prevent the unexpected deaths of any more beautiful children in our community. No one deserves the heartache of losing a child. Not knowing the cause only compounds this awful pain. This issue hits close to home for me as my own state, Wisconsin, struggles with high infant mortality rates among African Americans. And to be clear, SUID/SIDS/SUDC is not a parenting issue. Parents, regardless of background or economic status should not have to live with this uncertainly and fear of losing their precious children and babies, and we’re teaming up to do something about it,”
Moore said.

“Despite significant advances in modern medicine, it is heartbreaking that approximately 3,500 infants are lost suddenly to unknown and mysterious causes each year. This is devastating for the American families involved, and I believe more can be done to provide answers and prevent future tragedies. The Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act seeks to solve a serious problem while also lending support to families who have lost their children prematurely. I am proud to join with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce it,”Cole said. 

“Among developed nations, the U.S. has one of the highest infant mortality rates — ranked 33 among 36 countries. Every parent should be grateful to this bipartisan group of policymakers for taking action. As a parent who lost a child, I know first-hand how this issue affects lives of those who will never be the same because of SIDS/SUID. This legislation modernizes our approaches to finding the causes and offers hope that we’ll prevent future deaths. From the bottom of my heart, and behalf of all parents who are haunted by this terrible mystery, you have my deepest thanks,”John Kahan, founder of the Aaron Matthew SIDS Research Guild of Seattle Children’s Hospital and Microsoft Chief Data Analytics Officer, said. 

“Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act is vital legislation addressing the importance of a multi-faceted national effort to help reduce the numbers of infants and children dying of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC). Cribs for Kids is proud to support this legislation that will enable us to educate more families throughout the country about infant safe sleep practices and provide safety approved cribs to families in need,”Judy Bannon,Executive Director and Founder of Cribs for Kids, Inc, said. 

The bill would also authorize funds to increase education and awareness about safe sleep practices and for support services for grieving families who have experienced the loss of an infant or child.