National “First Steps For SIDS” Campaign Launches In October – SIDS Awareness Month – To Raise Money For Critical Research Into Sudden Infant Deaths

The American SIDS Institute and the Aaron Matthew SIDS Research Guild of Seattle Children’s Hospital (“the Guild”) will launch an online video campaign, “First Steps for SIDS,” on October 1. The campaign will raise public awareness and funds to support research into the causes of, and ultimately preventative measures for, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

“People in the U.S. may be surprised to learn that, among developed nations, we have one of the highest infant mortality rates – ranked 32nd among 36 nations. Moreover, the number of unexpected and unexplained deaths has not gone down since the mid-1990s,” said John Kahan, founder of the Aaron Matthew SIDS Research Guild of Seattle Children’s Hospital. “We need to take action, and the ‘First Steps for SIDS’ campaign is a powerful way for any individual to make a difference.”

The campaign centers on an online video contest to celebrate a recognizable milestone in a child’s development while shining a light on this serious issue.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, SIDS remains the leading cause of death among children one month to one year old across all developed nations.

“Most of these babies never get the chance to take their first steps,” said Betty McEntire, PhD, CEO of the American SIDS Institute. “So, during the month of SIDS awareness, we’re pleased to collaborate with the Guild on this public campaign to inspire compassion and action.”

The contest
All parents and grandparents are encouraged to submit videos of their child’s first steps on the “First Steps for SIDS” website. All visitors will be asked to make a $5 donation to vote on their favorite videos. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be used to support SIDS research. Voting ends on January 1, 2019. Videos receiving the largest number of votes will be announced on January 15, 2019 and will be eligible for the following prizes: 

  • Grand Prize
    • Courtesy of Marriott Hotels and Alaska Airlines, a trip for the winner and three additional guests to Disneyland that includes:
      • Four (4) round-trip tickets to Orange County from Alaska Airlines
      • Four (4) passes to Disneyland
      • Two (2) nights at the Anaheim Marriott
  • First Place winner will receive a Microsoft Surface computer.
  • Second Place winners will both receive an Xbox One.
  • Third Place winners will both receive an REI co-op bike, courtesy of a gift from private individual donors.

McEntire added, “We are deeply thankful to Alaska Airlines, Marriott Hotels, Microsoft, Tata Consultancy Services, WE Communications and to kind private donors for their generous donations toward the success of the contest.”

“This is an issue that is close to my heart,” Kahan said. “Fifteen years ago, my wife, Heather, and I lost our son, Aaron Matthew, to SIDS. Since then, we established the Guild to support critical scientific research and sustained funding to alleviate the pain and uncertainty around ‘unexplained and unexpected infant deaths’ for parents worldwide.” Kahan works at Microsoft, where he is Chief Data Analytics Officer for Corporate, External and Legal Affairs. His world-class team of data scientists have volunteered thousands of hours to Seattle Children’s Integrative Brain Research Institute developing technology tools to aid SIDS research.

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