Incredible Crib Cam Footage Offers Clue to Surprising Toddler Deaths During Sleep

BEL AIR, Maryland – The tragic death of 17-month-old Hayden Fell stunned his family as he passed away in his sleep without any apparent cause. However, a new study conducted by researchers at NYU Langone Health offers potential insights into the mysterious deaths of seemingly healthy toddlers and preschoolers in the United States.

Similar to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in babies, Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) refers to the sudden and unexplained deaths of children after their first birthday. Despite the lack of understanding about SUDC, some scientists have long suspected that seizures may be a contributing factor.

The study, which analyzed home monitoring video of seven toddlers who died in their sleep, revealed evidence of seizures in five of the children shortly before their deaths. This provides the first direct evidence of a potential link between seizures and SUDC.

While fever-related seizures are common in young children, affecting 2% to 5% of toddlers between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, the study raises questions about the potential risks associated with these seizures and the need to identify children who may be at risk of more serious outcomes.

Despite the heartbreaking loss, Hayden’s parents and the researchers involved in the study see the potential for this new evidence to lead to a better understanding of SUDC and ultimately, the ability to identify children at risk and potentially change their outcomes.

SUDC is estimated to claim over 400 lives a year in the U.S., with most deaths occurring during sleep and over half of the deaths affecting 1- to 4-year-olds. While SIDS in babies has received more public attention and research funding, SUDC poses a significant and lesser-known risk to children past the age of SIDS. The findings from this study open doors for further research into SUDC and the potential link between seizures and sudden unexplained deaths in children.

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