Who is affected by sudden infant death?

Because the death of an infant death is unexpected and tragic, the grief of surviving family members is intense and painful.

Parents

Many parents experience guilt, anger, fear, shock, denial and depression. Their suffering is a very personal experience and can appear in many different ways. To all parents, though, the loss of their baby is devastating.

  • The Death of a Child, the Grief of the Parents: A Lifetime Journey [PDF]
  • Helping Yourself Heal When A Baby Dies [PDF]

Children

Other children in the family are also deeply affected by the death. Their mourning will be as individual as that of their parents. If very young, these brothers and sisters may express their feelings through actions and play rather than talking. They may develop physical symptoms or regress to less mature behavior. Older children may develop problems in the school setting, or may suddenly develop extreme fears. Like their parents, the children's reactions can include anger, guilt, anxiety and great sadness. All these feelings are normal.

  • Helping Children Cope with Grief When an Infant Dies [PDF]

Many others

Often, the death touches family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and relatives as well. The grandparents' grief, especially, may be intensified by the grief for their own child as well as the loss of a grandchild. Occasionally the death may occur while the infant is in the care of a child care provider. They, too, are significantly affected by the death.

If you or someone you know has experienced the death of an infant, feel free to call the MN SID Center for more information, support groups, and resources: 612-813-6285 or toll free 1-800-732-3812.