Keeping track of the best practices of safe sleeping for infants can be challenging. For some parents, current best practices may even change between having one baby and the next. To help keep local parents informed, Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia launched Safe Sleep, which supplies new parents with recommendations for safe sleeping from The American Association of Pediatrics with the goal of reducing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The program was launched in collaboration with the National Institute of Health.
The program centers on raising awareness, as research has shown that parents tend to mimic the behavior they see in the hospital. Among the biggest things parents learn is that co-sleeping — in which parents and infants sleep in the same bed — should be avoided, and that bassinets should be empty with the exception of a sheet. Likewise, parents are advised not to let their babies sleep on their stomachs, and to be careful about letting them sleep in their car seats. Ideally, infants should lay flat so they are breathing properly.
Hospital caregivers work with parents throughout their hospital stay to model best practices and answer questions. Parents also leave with laminated education cards to share with grandparents and caregivers.
The program is still new, and hospital staff completed their training last summer, but program organizers say they hope to see a reduction in SIDS with the help of this education. Read more about the program from Thurston Talk. (Tim Pfarr)