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Bernie Baby's Death Highlights Importance of SIDS Awareness

A high-profile baby is making SIDS an even more high-profile matter.
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
March 4, 2016
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Image: Twitter

Sad news for arguably the youngest supporter on the presidential campaign trail. Oliver Lomas-Davis, known as the “Bernie Baby,” passed away at 4 months old from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Baby Oliver became a social media sensation after Senator Bernie Sanders’s Las Vegas rally on Valentine’s Day, where he appeared dressed as a miniature version of the candidate. Complete with glasses, tie and a wig mimicking the senator’s signature unkempt hair, Oliver quickly captured the attention of supporters and even Sanders himself. Sanders retweeted a photo of Oliver following the rally.

Just met 3.5 month old Oliver Jack Carter Lomas @BernieSanders Las Vegas rally. His mom says he’s a #BernieBaby pic.twitter.com/uwByr6jzAy

— Josh Haskell (@joshbhaskell) February 14, 2016

Oliver’s mother, Susan Lomas, shared a photo of Oliver and Sanders on Twitter following her son’s passing on February 25.

#berniebaby RIP pic.twitter.com/UQxKvMZmGw

— Susan Lomas (@SusieLomas) March 1, 2016

The tragedy draws awareness to this nearly unpreventable cause of death. Yes, there are specific measures you can take to eliminate risk factors, like creating a safe sleeping environment without bumpers, blankets or toys in the crib, and by avoiding risky behaviors like co-sleeping. However, baby’s risk of SIDS also varies greatly with age, with more deaths occurring among babies 3 months and under.

The good news is that SIDS numbers are relatively low in the U.S., accounting for only 0.45 deaths per 1,000 live births each year. Still, that means 3,500 families suffer heartbreak each year.

While researchers still consider SIDS a bit of a mystery, a breakthrough may be near. One Seattle doctor noticed a correlation between SIDS suffocation and inner ear damage, and is currently advocating for babies to receive hearing tests within 48 hours of birth, which would detect the dysfunction that puts them at risk.

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