History

Formed in 1961 by seven bereaved Seattle-area couples whose infants died from unknown causes, the SIDS Foundation of Washington was a strong parent-driven organization for over forty-five years. This parent group worked to bring about the definition of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. The term describes the sudden, unexplained death of an infant younger than 1 year of age. It is the second oldest SIDS organization in the country. Collaborating with University of Washington doctors, this parent group brought about the first official definition of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and organized the first international SIDS conference.

In 1971, the SIDS Foundation of Washington became a Chapter of the National SIDS Foundation, later renamed the SIDS Alliance. In 1994, the SIDS Foundation incorporated under the name the SIDS Foundation of Washington as an independent SIDS organization that officially served the state from its main office in Seattle and a branch office in Spokane. It informally served Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Alaska as well, for these states did not have a formal SIDS program.

In early 1998, the SIDS Foundation of Washington moved out of Children’s Hospital in Seattle and set up an office in the historic Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford district; where it currently does business.

In the spring of 2007, the SIDS Foundation of Washington changed its name to Northwest Infant Survival Alliance-SIDS Foundation of Washington (NISA-SIDS) to reflect a shift in focus to larger issues of risk-reduction education and infant survival, as well as its outreach to other unexplained infant deaths. In August 2009 the name was shortened to Northwest Infant Survival & SIDS Alliance (NISSA).

In the fall of 2018 NISSA began working with the Inland Northwest SIDS Foundation, a like-minded non-profit serving Eastern Washington, Idaho, and Western Montana, on a plan to combine organizations in order to more efficiently and completely serve the northwest. 

Liz Montgomery was hired as the new Executive Director in March of 2019 and was responsible for combining NISSA and Inland Northwest SIDS Foundation under one umbrella. The merger was finalized in July of 2019.

The new organization retained the NISSA name. NISSA is the parent organization to three program branches Every 1 Alliance, Safe Start Northwest, and Healing Together with the belief that every child deserves to reach their first birthday and beyond; free from accidental death and injury and to support those who have suffered the death of their child.

NISSA is excited to continue to build on our 58-year history of advocacy, education and support for many years to come.