(1) FINDINGS AND INTENT.—The Legislature recognizes that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is a leading cause of death among children under the age of 1 year, both nationally and in this state. The Legislature further recognizes that first responders to emergency calls relating to such a death need access to special training to better enable them to distinguish SIDS from death caused by criminal acts and to appropriately interact with the deceased infant’s parents or caretakers. At the same time, the Legislature, recognizing that the primary focus of first responders is to carry out their assigned duties, intends to increase the awareness of SIDS by first responders, but in no way expand or take away from their duties. Further, the Legislature recognizes the importance of a standard protocol for review of SIDS deaths by medical examiners and the importance of appropriate followup in cases of certified or suspected SIDS deaths. Finally, the Legislature finds that it is desirable to analyze existing data, and to conduct further research on, the possible causes of SIDS and how to lower the number of sudden infant deaths.
(2) DEFINITION.—As used in this section, the term “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,” or “SIDS,” means the sudden unexpected death of an infant under 1 year of age which remains unexplained after a complete autopsy, death-scene investigation, and review of the case history. The term includes only those deaths for which, currently, there is no known cause or cure.
(a) The Legislature finds that an emergency medical technician, a paramedic, a firefighter, or a law enforcement officer is likely to be the first responder to a request for assistance which is made immediately after the sudden unexpected death of an infant. The Legislature further finds that these first responders should be trained in appropriate responses to sudden infant death.
(b) After January 1, 1995, the basic training programs required for certification as an emergency medical technician, a paramedic, a firefighter, or a law enforcement officer as defined in s. 943.10, other than a correctional officer or a correctional probation officer, must include curriculum that contains instruction on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
(c) The Department of Health, in consultation with the Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council, the Firefighters Employment, Standards, and Training Council, and the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission, shall develop and adopt, by rule, curriculum that, at a minimum, includes training in the nature of SIDS, standard procedures to be followed by law enforcement agencies in investigating cases involving sudden deaths of infants, and training in responding appropriately to the parents or caretakers who have requested assistance.
(a) The medical examiner must perform an autopsy upon any infant under the age of 1 year who is suspected to have died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The autopsy must be performed within 24 hours after the death, or as soon thereafter as is feasible. When the medical examiner’s findings are consistent with the definition of sudden infant death syndrome in subsection (2), the medical examiner must state on the death certificate that sudden infant death syndrome was the cause of death.
(b) The Medical Examiners Commission shall develop and implement a protocol for dealing with suspected sudden infant death syndrome. The protocol must be followed by all medical examiners when conducting the autopsies required under this subsection. The protocol may include requirements and standards for scene investigations, requirements for specific data, criteria for ascertaining cause of death based on the autopsy, criteria for any specific tissue sampling, and any other requirements that the commission considers necessary.
(c) A medical examiner is not liable for damages in a civil action for any act or omission done in compliance with this subsection.
(d) An autopsy must be performed under the authority of a medical examiner under s. 406.11. (5) DEPARTMENT DUTIES RELATING TO SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME (SIDS).—The Department of Health shall:
(a) Collaborate with other agencies in the development and presentation of the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) training programs for first responders, including those for emergency medical technicians and paramedics, firefighters, and law enforcement officers.
(b) Maintain a database of statistics on reported SIDS deaths, and analyze the data as funds allow.
(c) Serve as liaison and closely coordinate activities with the Florida SIDS Alliance, including the services related to the SIDS hotline.
(d) Maintain a library reference list and materials about SIDS for public dissemination.
(e) Provide professional support to field staff.
(f) Coordinate the activities of and promote a link between the fetal and infant mortality review committees of the local healthy start coalitions, the local SIDS alliance, and other related support groups.