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Sunny Day, Go Park

Jon and Petra McKittrick in front of the sugar maple dedicated to their son, Hunter, at Duggan Park in Brampton. Photo courtesy the McKittrick family.

For any parent, the death of a child is an unimaginable horror.

But what if there is no explanation for the child’s death? What if doctors and coroners tell you there was nothing you could have done to prevent it? How do parents cope without that sense of closure?

The McKittrick family has experienced this anguish first-hand when their son, Hunter, was found unresponsive in his crib one July morning in 2008. He was just two-and-a-half years old.

SUDC or Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood is a rare condition similar to the better-known SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

It is a diagnosis of exclusion given when all possible causes of death have been ruled out by a coroner after conducting an autopsy and toxicology exam, and where the parents are not suspected in the child’s death.

SUDC is still unknown to most Canadians, and in the United States there are about 1.2 deaths per 100,000 live births. SIDS, by comparison, is about 45 times more common.

This is the McKittrick's story. This is Sunny Day, Go Park.


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