Family hopes to raise awareness about SUDC deaths and promote safe sleep

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - While most people have heard about SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, SUDC is lesser-known, except to those families who have experienced it.

SUDC stands for sudden unexplained death in childhood.

It is used to classify unexplained cause of death in a child older than 12 months old.

Taylor McKeen Shelton was 14 months old when he died in his sleep in 2013.

His case was classified as SUDC.

Now, his family, which includes his grandfather and the CEO of White River Health System Gary Bebow, has created a foundation in his honor that raises money for research of SUDC and promotes safe sleep practices.

The Taylor McKeen Shelton Foundation established the Cribs for Kids Safe Sleep Program at White River Medical Center in 2016.

Every baby born at White River Medical Center in Batesville is now sent home with a sleep sack.

"One of the important aspects of safe sleep is room temperature, so this allows the baby to have a blanket-like sack over them as they sleep," said Dr. Verona Brown-Bebow, a physician and Taylor Shelton's grandmother. "Also it's designed so the child can't as easily turn over. Some of them are also made with a swaddle built in them so the child's arms can be swaddled down, which also keeps the child from rolling over."

The family spoke at the Arkansas Hospital Auxiliary Association's North Central Arkansas spring meeting on Wednesday.

Dr. Brown explained the ABC's of safe sleep that they are now teaching parents.

"The baby should be alone in their own crib," Dr. Brown said. "B would be that the baby should be on their back. That's very important. The baby should always be on their back to sleep whether it's a nap or at nighttime, they should be on their back, not on their side or on their tummy. They should be on their back to sleep. C [is for] the baby should be in an approved crib with nothing else in the crib with them. It should have a tight-fitting sheet."

There should not be any toys or other blankets in the crib either, Dr. Brown said.

She said Arkansas ranks first in the nation in the number of sleep-related infant deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That rate is 1.80 per 1,000 births.

Independence County has an even higher rate of sleep-related infant deaths at 2.0 per 1,000 births.

This family hopes to change that through education.

The hospital also gives a Pack N Play crib to any family who does not already have a safe crib at home for the newborn baby.

Below is more information from the SUDC Foundation.

Copyright 2018 KAIT. All rights reserved.