Stricter reporting and investigative requirements will now be required by law in situations where an infant has died suddenly and unexpectedly thanks to legislation sponsored by State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris) and State Representative Thomas Bennett (R-Pontiac).
According to new law’s sponsors, sudden and unexpected infant deaths are often listed as simply Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) when other contributing factors, like unsafe sleeping environments, may have been a contributing factor. SB 1568 requires coroners to conduct an autopsy following the investigation as well as list any environmental factors that may have contributed to the child’s death on their report. The new law would also require the Department of Public Health to publish current data that it receives from coroner reports so that the public has access to reporting concerning SIDS.
“Too often, infant deaths are being ruled as SIDS even when there are unsafe factors present at the scene where the infant passed,” said Sen. Rezin. “By just putting SIDS on the death certificate, potentially valuable information is being left out that could help prevent infant deaths in the future.”
“This is an important bill that impacts families during an extremely sensitive time and will help provide more complete information about what happened,” said Rep. Bennett. “This bill will help promote awareness in how to take care of infants.”
The legislation was brought forward by Ashley Lamps, a constituent of Sen. Rezin and State Representative Lance Yednock (D-Ottawa), who lost her son in 2013 to SIDS. Lamps now runs a foundation that advocates for SIDS awareness and the use of safe sleep practices.
“Illinois needs to have as much information as possible at hand to help prevent these instances from happening,” said Rep. Yednock. “Families across the Illinois Valley, and throughout the entire state, will have better information going forward to take extra care for their newborns.”
SB 1568, which was signed into law on Friday, August 9, is the product of congenial and productive discussions between Ashley, the Department of Public Health, and the Illinois Coroners and Medical Examiners Association.