Dying is a social as well as physiological phenomenon. Each society characterizes and, consequently, treats death and dying in its own individual ways—ways that differ markedly. These particular patterns of death and dying engender modal cultural responses, and such institutionalized behavior has familiar, economical, educational, religious, and political implications. The Handbook of Death and Dying takes stock of the vast literature in the field.
Chapter 27: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
In this chapter, we examine the phenomenon of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is the leading cause of death for infants between 1 month and 1 year of age in the United States. We begin by describing some of the typical experiences of parents, grandparents, and other family members when a SIDS death occurs. We then present a formal definition of SIDS and a discussion of its incidence. We go on to describe SIDS-related research and the “Back to Sleep” campaign, which appears to have reduced the number of U.S. SIDS deaths ...