The full Senate voted unanimously Tuesday for a measure requiring standardized investigations following sudden, unexplained infant deaths. Sen. Brenda Stanley, R-Midwest City, is the principal author of Senate Bill 95.
“Oklahoma’s infant mortality rate has been higher than the national average since 1992,” Stanley said. “Having accurate data from thorough, standardized investigations would help us be proactive with policies and statutes that can help save lives. That’s exactly what SB 95 would do.”
The bill was originally requested by Edmond mother Ali Dodd, whose baby died almost six years ago at a state-licensed day care center due to an unsafe sleep environment. Dodd said although her 11-week-old baby was left swaddled, unbuckled, and unrestrained in a car seat for two hours on the floor beyond a closed door, the medical examiner listed the cause of death as unknown/undetermined. No information about the specific circumstances or contributing factors was documented.
“The year my son died, there were over 400 infants that died in Oklahoma, and he was among the 70 to 75 percent whose deaths were listed as unknown, undetermined,” Dodd said. “This bill creates a process for standardized investigations. Once we know better, we can finally do better.”
Under the provisions of SB 95, the medical examiner would conduct a sudden unexplained infant death investigation (SUIDI) within 48 hours of the baby’s death. The examiner would also be required to interview the parent, legal guardian, caregiver, or the person who last had contact with the infant. Information collected would include known medical histories, how the infant was found, how they were placed and other pertinent details.
SB 95 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
For more information, contact Sen. Brenda Stanley at 405-521-5584 or email Brenda.Stanley@oksenate.gov.