Regional Medical Center Joins Safe Sleep Initiative for Infants

As part of the effort to save lives and lower Tennessee’s infant mortality rate, Regional Medical Center has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Health to reduce infant deaths by creating a hospital safe sleep policy. 

“Infants should sleep Alone, on their Back and in a Crib. As a hospital committed to improving community health and lowering our infant mortality rate, we need to make sure parents know these simple rules and share this information with other people who may be putting infants down to sleep, including grandparents and other relatives,” said Catresa Jackson, Nursing Director, Women’s Services. 

Studies have shown that parents observe doctors and nurses in hospitals and place their babies to sleep the same way they see their baby placed to sleep in the hospital.  Our new safe sleep policy requires staff members to implement safe sleep practices in the hospital.  In addition, the policy will require all staff members that care for infants to be trained on safe sleep on an annual basis. 

Although SIDS numbers have decreased in Tennessee, other preventable sleep-related deaths are on the rise. Causes of other sleep-related deaths include suffocation, such as when an adult rolls over on an infant or an infant is smothered by pillows or blankets. In 2011, 109 sleep-related deaths occurred in Tennessee. In 2012, the infant mortality rate in Tennessee was 7.2, meaning that 7.2 babies out of every 1,000 born did not reach their first birthday. Infant mortality rates in Tennessee and the United States lag far behind many other countries, including less-developed countries.

Safe sleep practices can prevent sleep-related deaths. Regional Medical Center promotes the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that infants should:

* Always be placed on their backs to sleep

* Sleep alone in a crib or bassinet

* Not have bumper pads, blankets, stuffed animals, toys or pets in their cribs

* Sleep on a firm crib mattress with the mattress covered only by a fitted sheet