Friends and Relatives

Relatives and Other Caregivers

Sometimes a relative or babysitter may have been caring for the infant when the death occurred. It is not uncommon for parents to blame the relative or babysitter. Parents may blame themselves for having left the baby with someone else. It is natural that they may not be able to understand that the caregiver is also experiencing sorrow and guilt. This is a particularly painful situation, and counseling may be helpful for all involved.

Community's Reaction to a SIDS Death

It is important that SIDS parents understand that some members of the community may have little or no information about SIDS, or they may not understand that it is an accepted and appropriate designation as an official cause of death. Parents should be aware that some members of the community may blame them for the death and may view police or medical involvement in a SIDS case as a clear sign that the death occurred under suspicious circumstances. Unfortunately, in some communities, even today, SIDS parents are wrongly suspected of causing the death of their baby. It is also true that many people in the community may be extremely sympathetic and want to express their support and concern for the parents and family. They may, however, be unsure or uncomfortable about how to go about expressing their support. The bereaved parent needs to deal with each person and situation on an individual basis, depending on that person's relationship to the family.