Office of Injury Prevention

Unexplained Infant Death

Unexplained infant deaths are those deaths for which there is no obvious cause. Unexplained infant deaths require a thorough investigation to accurately determine the cause and manner of the death. This process includes a death scene investigation, interviews with parents and caregivers, a review of the infant's clinical history, and an autopsy. Although the ultimate goal of a death scene investigation is to accurately assign a cause of death, equally important goals are the identification of health threats posed by consumer products, identification of risk factors associated with unexplained infant deaths, and using the opportunity to refer families to grief counseling and support groups.

What has this program achieved?

The Arizona Department of Health Services created a protocol for first responders. The protocols include a checklist for law enforcement to use during the course of an investigation. The checklist standardizes investigations throughout the state, and ensures that medical examiners are provided sufficient information to assist in determining the cause and manner of the death. The ADHS has distributed the Infant Death Checklist and Unexplained Infant Death Investigation Protocol to law enforcement agencies statewide.

Related Publications and References

Arizona Revised Statutes: