The National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Foundation cites these facts about SIDS:
*SIDS is the number one cause of death in infants after the first week of life. It kills more infants in the first year of life than child abuse, cystic fibrosis, car accidents and cancer combined.
*About 6,000 to 7,000 babies die of SIDS every year in the United States (about two per 1,000 live births).
*SIDS most commonly occurs to infants between the ages of three weeks and seven months, but occasionally an older or younger baby dies of SIDS.
*There is no suffering; death occurs within seconds, usually during sleep.
*SIDS is at least as old as the Old Testament and seems to have been at least as common in the 18th and 19th centuries as it is now.
*A minor illness such as a common cold may precede the death, but many victims display no observable symptoms. The majority have appeared to be entirely healthy.
*SIDS is not contagious in the usual sense. Although a viral infection may be involved, it is not a "killer virus" that threatens others.
*SIDS occurs among families of all social and economic strata.
*Researchers believe SIDS probably has more than one cause, although the final process of death is similar in most instances.
*No test has been discovered to identify which infants will die of SIDS. Resource
For information about SIDS, contact the National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Foundation at Two Metro Plaza, Suite 205, 8240 Professional Place, Landover, Md. 20785, or call (301) 459-3388 or 1-800-221-SIDS. Congressional hearings on funding of SIDS research are to be held Nov. 14.