This article is from the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome FAQ, by David Stokes firstname.lastname@example.org and Margaret D. Gibbs gibbsm@no_spam.poppyware.com with numerous contributions by others.
California was the first state to have a comprehensive autopsy and
death scene protocol for SIDS victims. This came from work by State
Senator Boatwright (D-Concord) and now many other states are
developing their own protocols. The protocols have two main
purposes: 1) the gathering of data for future research and 2) the
collection of small tissue samples to provide materials for
researchers. Previously it was extremely hard if not impossible to
be able to study SIDS victims to find any clues on the syndrome.
Some parents object to the autopsy on religious or personal issues,
which is their right. But many parents later find that they wish
they knew more about the death of their child. If your child dies of
SIDS, you can request a copy of the autopsy (or ask your pediatrician
to make the request) and have a doctor review it with you.
If your state does not have such protocols, contact your elective
representatives and Dr. Henry Krous of the San Diego SIDS Research
Center (619)576-5944. Dr. Krous is a leading proponent of these
protocols, is willing to work with politicians, and has done a lot
of the work on the California and Arizona protocols.