Bereaved families receive special Holiday gift as President Obama enacts legislation to combat sudden death in children

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Photo: Laura Crandall

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 18, 2014 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) -- The SUDC Foundation celebrates the legislation signed into law today by President Obama which is deeply personal to all those who have lost a child to Stillbirth, Sudden Infant Death or Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC). "This is the best Christmas gift ever," said Laura Crandall to President Obama at the bill signing today in the White House.

Laura Crandall, Executive Director of the SUDC Foundation who lost her 15 month old daughter to a sudden unexplained death adds, "It has taken more than six years of advocacy efforts to finally see this day arrive. It was a privilege to give a voice to our children and to represent families touched by SUDC, Stillbirth and Sudden Unexplained Infant Death."

S.2746/H.R.669 was first introduced in Congress in 2009, by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ-D) in the Senate and Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-D) in the House. In its third legislation session attempt, the bill finally saw movement with a hearing in the House's E&C subcommittee on health, in November 2013, which paved the way for full committee support and passage by the full House on September 9, 2014. In parallel, new Senate champions, Senator Brown (D-OH) and Senator Ayotte (NH-R), introduced Senate version S.2746.

The bill was approved by the Senate HELP Committee with amendments and saw successful passage by the full Senate on November 20, 2014. A final unanimous vote to pass the Senate-revised bill was made by the House on December 3, 2014, which led to it being forwarded to the President.

"As a parent I am overwhelmed with the events of today. The passage of this bill will bring us one step closer to finding a reason why Alex and so many other precious children died," said Danna Richardson mother to Alexandra who passed away in 2006 just shy of her second birthday. She continues, "Up until now there have been no consistent protocols or procedures in place when a child dies unexpectedly and suddenly. Inevitably, the more consistent and robust information we gather the greater chance we have in preventing future families from having to experience such a devastating loss."

The Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act (S.2746/H.R.669) amends the Public Health Service Act to help enhance awareness about unexpected sudden death in early life. The legislation provides for consistent data collection related to stillbirths and sudden, unexpected deaths in both infants and children. By better understanding the causes of unexpected sudden death, we can do more to improve the health of all infants and children.

Tim and Kathleen Doyle, whose vibrant son Thomas passed away at the age of eight years, state, "While the pain of losing our son never goes away, we are hopeful that this new law will ease some of the burdens of families who experienced such a traumatic loss. We know that this will help forward research and advocacy for an important issue."

In addition to The SUDC Foundation, more than 25 organizations have endorsed this bill including the Children's Hospital Association, National Association of Medical Examiners, National Association of Police Organizations, Inc., Maternity Care Coalition and Safe Kids Worldwide.

Every year, approximately 30,000 families in the U.S. are affected by Stillbirth, Sudden Unexpected Infant Death or Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC). SUDC is defined as the sudden death of a child greater than 1 year of age that remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the child's medical history (Krous 2005).

"I am grateful for the actions of President Obama and the many supporters across the country who gave a voice to our children through advocating for this important law," explains Lorri Caffrey, of the SUDC Foundation, whose daughter Jenna passed away at the age of 16 months. She goes on to say, "At a time of year when bereaved parents have such heavy hearts, I am inspired to know that our efforts are truly making a difference for the future of all children."

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*Photo Caption: Laura Crandall, of the SUDC Foundation, celebrates with Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), lead House sponsor and champion of this legislation.

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REFERENCES: Laura Crandall, sudden infant death, Congressman Frank Pallone Jr, Lorri Caffrey, The Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act S.2746/H.R.669, news, press release from SUDC Foundation, Dec 18, 2014, Family, Parenting and Children, Government, Women's Interests, Washington, District of Columbia, Bereaved families receive special Holiday gift as President Obama enacts legislation to combat sudden death in children