Four years ago, I posted this picture. Caleb was three weeks old and I absolutely loved staring at his perfect face while he slept.
Today, this picture tears my heart out. Finding your healthy, happy child the way I did is the worst kind of hell I could wish upon anyone. Yet, in the U.S. alone, it is happening about 450 times a year. (See stats below).
A majority of the deaths that are categorized (because it is a CATEGORY of death and not a specific cause) as Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood or SUDC happen when a child is sleeping, although this is not always the case. Some children have literally been mid-sentence or taking care of household chores when they became unresponsive and could not be saved.
The SUDC Foundation supports families all over the world who went from watching their child's beautiful face, to living and reliving their worst, haunting nightmare. I can post on our secret Facebook page and warn everyone of a diaper commercial airing during the holiday season that is a highly triggering source of trauma. I couldn't turn my TV fast enough when I saw it, but I had to shield my eyes and make enough noise on my own to drown out the dozens of babies sleeping to the tune of "Silent Night."
Maybe a simple commercial doesn't sound horrifying to you but to people like me, there are triggers everywhere in daily life that we now have to learn how to face. Most people are fortunate enough to not understand why sleeping babies could send someone into a panic, but I knew this group would and wanted to spare someone else the racing heart and flashbacks. I used to love nothing more than to look at my sleeping baby, but now all of those pictures I took are wrapped with highly charged emotions and heartache.
The government funds research on SIDS, but not one penny has been spent by them to try to figure out why older children are dying without explanation. Without the SUDC Foundation, I can't share this picture and have people who understand. Even writing this post, I have Caleb's picture moved to the bottom of my screen because it is too upsetting to see. I wish I could just be sharing what should be an innocent, tender moment, but my life is forever changed. The SUDC Foundation is the only organization worldwide whose purpose is to promote awareness, advocate for research, and support those like me who are affected by SUDC. It is the 5th leading CATEGORY of death in toddlers; and even teenagers are not immune.
SOMETHING must be done, and I am encouraged to see everyone who has changed their profile pictures and liked the SUDC Facebook page. To learn more about the SUDC CATEGORY of death or the SUDC Foundation, go here: https://sudc.org/ or like their page here SUDC Foundation.
Based on 2016 statistics (the year we lost Caleb) provided by the CDC Wonder Database, those affected by sudden unexplained death, occurred in:
-236 children ages 1-4
-30 children ages 5-9
-37 children ages 10-14
-142 teens ages 15-19