How often does SUDC occur?

The exact answer to this question is not known today. The WHO (World Health Organization), which provides codes for all causes of death used in many countries around the world, does not include a specific code for sudden unexplained non-suspicious deaths in childhood where a comprehensive investigation has occurred. There exists a specific code for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (R95), but it cannot be attributed to any deaths where the child is older than 364 days of age. The best thing we can do, at this time, is estimate deaths due to SUDC by examining the statistics of deaths with "undetermined" causes (R99). This information is displayed below. 

SIDS and Undetermined Child Death Crude Rates/100,000**, 2011-2017 in the US

 Year Under 1 yr Age 1-4 yrs Age 5-9 yrs Age 10-14 yrs Age 15-19 yrs
2011 69.7 1.5 .1 .1 .4
2012 69.6 1.4 .2 .1 .6
2013 66.4 1.4 .1 .1 .5
2014 66.8 1.3 .1 .1 .4
2015 69.6 1.4 .2 .2 .5
2016 69.3 1.5 .1 .2 .7
2017 67.3 1.5 .2 .2 .4 (15-18yo)

Statistics above are based on ICD-10 Codes R95-R99 from CDC Wonder Database

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death 1999-2017 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released December, 2018. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2017, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at on Dec 8, 2018 12:13:06 PM

**Death rates for infants less than one year of age are calculated per 100,000 live births; death rates for children over the age of one are age adjusted per 100,000 children.

Based on the above statistics, 389 children were affected by sudden unexplained death in 2017, occurring in:

  • 243 children ages of 1-4 years,
  • 33 children ages of 5-9 years,
  • 39 children ages of 10-14 years,
  • and 74 teens ages of 15-18 years.

Undetermined Toddler Deaths: 5th Leading Category of Death in the U.S.


Tags: sudc, sudden unexplained death in childhood, sudden unexpected child death, leading causes of death in children
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