• Aboriginal Australians;
  • definitions;
  • mortality rates;
  • sudden infant death syndrome

Abstract:  The diagnosis of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) has undergone several changes in definition since first being recognised as a cause of death. Linked total population data from Western Australia enable investigations to determine changes in classifications of mortality for the infants of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal mothers (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are referred to throughout this report as ‘Aboriginal’). Data for recent years show a shift away from a classification of ‘SIDS’ towards a classification of ‘unascertainable’, particularly for Aboriginal infants. This has implications for the accurate translation of data into policy and practice.