Reps. Moore, Cole, Herrera Beutler & Sens. Casey, Isakson, Brown Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Address Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood

Washington, DC – Today, Reps. Gwen Moore (WI-04), Tom Cole (OK-04), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) and Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced critical bipartisan and bicameral legislation to combat Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC).

H.R. 6931, The Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act would supply grants to help states, municipalities, and nonprofits to improve data collection and death scene investigations related to unexpected infant and child deaths, promote safe sleep practices, and ensure death reviews are completed for 100 percent of infant and child fatalities. Currently, there are no nationwide standards for investigating and collecting data following an infant or child death. This makes it nearly impossible to determine the causes of these deaths, and what strategies our country can implement to prevent these tragedies. 

“Wisconsin has the highest rate of Black infant mortality in the nation. Our babies die at rates comparable to war-torn countries like Syria,” said Rep. Moore. “This doesn’t have anything to do with good or bad parenting. But because there are no nationwide standards for investigations and data collection, parents are often left wondering what went wrong and what they could have done to prevent their baby from dying. No mother, no matter her background, should have to with live with this uncertainty, thinking it was their fault. That’s why this bipartisan and bicameral bill to fund critical data collection is a game changer. We need to know the root of the problem to solve it.”

“Nothing is more tragic than the untimely death of an infant child. Unfortunately, in many of the roughly 3,500 cases each year in the United States, parents are left without knowing what caused their child to die.  Our bill will not prevent all of these cases, but it will go a long way toward improving investigations, autopsies, and nationwide collection of data further enhancing our understanding of sudden unexplained infant death.  With more and better data and information, we can determine causes, find new prevention strategies, and make sure that all children have a chance to survive and thrive,” said Rep. Cole

“If there’s anything Congress can do to save more babies from dying unexpectedly from SIDS, we should be relentlessly working toward that end. I’m pleased to be part of this bipartisan bill that takes important steps to improve how we are tracking and reporting these tragic infant deaths so that we can improve prevention efforts and better support children and families through outreach and education,” said Rep. Herrera Beutler.

“This legislation is named “Scarlett’s Sunshine” after a little girl who was lost to Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood,” said Sen. Casey. “I wanted to honor Scarlett’s memory and make sure that the federal government is taking all possible steps to ensure that no family will have to suffer the death of a child, without knowing why. It’s appalling that over 400 children ages 1–4 and over 3,600 infants each year are dying from these unexplained causes. I urge my colleagues to join us in this bipartisan, bicameral effort.”

“No parent should experience the horrifying loss of a small child, especially under sudden, unexpected and unexplained circumstances,” said Sen. Isakson. “We should be doing everything we can to learn more about sudden infant and unexplained child death cases to help improve awareness, education and prevention of these devastating tragedies. I’m proud to introduce this legislation to ensure we are employing every resource available, including the experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, to combat infant mortality and protect our youngest and most innocent lives.” 

“Too many families across Ohio and around the country have experienced the unspeakable grief of losing a child,” said Sen. Brown. “I’m honored to join lawmakers and family advocates as we work to build on the success of the Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act and get experts the data they need to better understand these deaths, while also getting the families the support they deserve.”

“As pediatricians, we counsel parents every day on the importance of safe sleep practices and recognize the critical that role quality data-collection plays in our understanding of how we can prevent unexpected death among infants and children. The Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act will help to improve data-gathering and evidence-based interventions and offer families the support they need,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Colleen Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP.

This bill has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Association, Cribs for Kids, First Candle, March of Dimes, Kids in Danger, SUDC Foundation, Within our Reach, and Aaron Matthew SIDS Guild of Seattle Children’s Hospital. 


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