Seventeen-month-old Hayden Fell, of Bel Air, Md., was one of the hundreds of American babies who die in their sleep each year, seemingly without explanation. But the baby monitor camera recording Hayden that night offered a clue. (Fell via Associated Press)
The article, “Child seizures caught on video may be a clue to solving unexplained crib deaths,” reports on a study by NYU Langone Health linking seizures during sleep to sudden unexplained deaths in childhood (SUDC). Published on January 5, 2024, the study analyzed home monitoring video capturing the deaths of seven toddlers. The findings suggest that seizures may be a factor in some cases of SUDC, presenting the first direct evidence of a seizure link.
The study’s small size is acknowledged, but it emphasizes the significance of video evidence, providing insights into the moments leading to the deaths. While febrile seizures are common in young children, the research raises questions about identifying potential warning signs of more serious issues. The article features a poignant case of 17-month-old Hayden Fell, who experienced seizures triggered by mild infections, ultimately succumbing to SUDC.
Despite the distressing nature of the findings, the article emphasizes that they don’t alter advice about febrile seizures. The focus is now on identifying children at risk to potentially change outcomes. The piece underscores the challenges of diagnosing seizures through autopsies and calls for further research, including animal studies and sleep studies in children, to better understand the complexities of SUDC.
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