Letter: New hope for families
My son Kalahan died of unknown causes at the age of nearly 2½ in March 2001. He was a normal, healthy child with strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes and an infectious smile. Like any child, his future was bright, and we had high hopes for him. He was never seriously ill, but one day he took an afternoon nap and didn’t wake up.
Six months later, the Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood program began through the CJ Foundation for SIDS in Hackensack, N.J. SUDC is the sudden and unexpected death of a child older than 12 months, which remains unexplained after a thorough investigation is conducted. After an investigation that took over a year, Kalahan’s case was determined to be SUDC. I was relieved that there was nothing we had done wrong and devastated knowing that I would never have an answer.
On Feb. 13 the Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act of 2013 was introduced to Congress with bipartisan support. It aims to reduce the number of unexpected infant deaths through research and education on stillbirths, Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), better known as SIDS, and SUDC.
This is the single most influential piece of legislation on this issue to ever reach Washington. It calls for an increase in education and awareness, focusing on how to prevent these tragedies in the future, and for expanded support services for families who have experienced a stillbirth, SUID or SUDC loss.
This legislation is not only about those who have lost a child, but also about preventing parents, friends and loved ones from enduring such a tragedy.
This legislation is about all of the Kalahans and the loved ones they watch over.