If the Unthinkable Happens: Families After SUID

  • Richard D. GoldsteinEmail author


Clinicians, public health professionals, and others involved in the care of an infant and family after SUID can feel ill prepared to offer support and guidance in the aftermath of this tragic loss. This chapter focuses on family experiences, likely responses, available resources, and the clinician’s role following SUID. Infants die from SUID both with and without risk factors, and they often have predictable questions. Coping after SUID is an isolating and extremely difficult experience for parents. Most of their relationships are tested. Rates of Prolonged Grief Disorder are extremely high when compared to other kinship groups. Concrete contributions include guiding the family through the forensic system and advocating for their need to find answers. The family will be helped by counseling about grief and anticipating solutions to social complexities. In any interaction, assessing their coping, saying their child’s name, and letting them tell their story will have therapeutic value.


SIDS Sudden unexpected death in pediatrics Parents Death scene investigation Undiagnosed diseases Grief Self-blame Coping 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Robert’s Program on Sudden Unexpected Death in Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, Department of PediatricsBoston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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