Since 1994, new parents have heard about “Back to Sleep,” reinforcing the importance of all babies sleeping on their backs to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Recently, the campaign was reintroduced and expanded under the name “Safe to Sleep” to educate parents, caregivers and health care providers about ways to reduce the risk for SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
Women & Infants Hospital is kicking off its own “Safe to Sleep” model of care and educational campaign. Recognizing that one of the biggest dangers for newborns is loose blankets in the crib that can cover the baby’s face and interfere with breathing, all babies born at Women & Infants Hospital are now being placed in a HALO SleepSack. This wearable blanket, also being used at Care New England’s Kent Hospital, replaces the need for any blankets that a baby may be able to kick off, helping to ensure that baby sleeps safely and comfortably throughout the night.
“We want to be sure that all of our new families are getting off to the healthiest start, right from the very beginning,” said Marcia VanVleet, MD, medical director of the newborn service team at Women & Infants Hospital. “In addition to modeling a safe sleep environment in the hospital, Women & Infants will now giving all of our new parents a Summer Infant swaddle to take home with them – a safe alternative to blankets that keeps baby warm and comfortable.”
“Safe to Sleep” is an expansion of the original “Back to Sleep” campaign, which was named for its recommendation to place healthy babies on their backs to sleep, the most effective action that parents and caregivers can take to reduce the risk of SIDS. According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development, since that campaign started the percentage of infants placed on their backs to sleep has increased dramatically, and the overall SIDS rates have declined by more than 50 percent.
SIDS, the leading cause of death in babies one month to one year of age, is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby younger than one year of age that does not have a known cause even after a complete investigation. Sleep-related causes of death, which are not SIDS, may be linked to how or where a baby sleeps or has slept. They may be due to accidental causes, such as suffocation, entrapment (when a baby gets trapped between two objects, such as a mattress and a wall, and cannot breathe), or strangulation (when something presses on or wraps around baby’s neck, blocking baby’s airway).
The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the “Safe to Sleep” actions that parents, grandparents, caregivers and anyone who cares for the baby can take to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of death, including:
• Babies sleep safest on their backs, every time – for naps and at night time. Babies who are used to sleeping on their backs but who are then placed on their stomach to sleep, like for a nap, are at a very high risk of SIDS.
• Babies should sleep on a hard surface. The risk of SIDS or suffocation is higher when baby sleeps on a soft surface, such as on an adult bed or under a soft blanket or quilt.
• There should be nothing placed in the baby’s crib, including bumpers and stuffed animals. Safe crib
• Babies should not be dressed too warmly for sleep to avoid overheating – room should be kept at 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
• No one should smoke around the baby or take the baby into a room where someone has recently been smoking.
For further information about safe sleeping and other information about pregnancy and newborns, visit womenandinfants.org/havingababy. Both Halo and Summer Infant products are also available for sale in Women & Infants’ specialty store, Nursing Moms, Etc.
About Women & Infants Hospital
Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. The primary teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine, Women & Infants is the eighth largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country with nearly 8,400 deliveries per year. In 2009, Women & Infants opened what was at the time the country’s largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.
New England’s premier hospital for women and newborns, Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, breast disease, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation’s only mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation’s only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.
Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Center of Excellence from the American College of Radiography; a Center for In Vitro Maturation Excellence by SAGE In Vitro Fertilization; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health; a National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers through the American College of Surgeons; and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group and the National Institutes of Health’s Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.