Safe Sleep Program
In March 2022, The Family Care Birthing Center at Memorial Hospital Shiloh successfully achieved the National Safe Sleep Certification through the Cribs for Kids’ Hospital Certification Program to become a designated Safe Sleep Certified Hospital.
The program recognizes hospitals for their commitment to infant safe sleep while reducing the risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation in Bed (ASSB), SIDS and unsafe sleep injuries.
“We will educate staff and families about safe sleep, model safe sleep in the hospital and perform audits for compliance,” said Dr. Bryanne Colvin, Washington University neonatologist and the leader of Memorial’s Safe Sleep Collaborative with BJC. “We will replace receiving blankets with wearable blankets, provide community outreach, and provide portable cribs for families in need.”
The program has three levels of designation (bronze, silver and gold) with varying standards hospitals must model while also teaching sleep safety according to current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) best practices, said Natosha McEvers, Family Care Birthing Center nurse manager.
“Memorial achieved the highest level of certification at the Gold level,” McEvers said. “We have implemented an Infant Safe Sleep Policy that includes safe sleep training for all nursing staff caring for newborns, and swaddle sacks provided at discharge to all families.”
Swaddle sacks, or wearable blankets, are new to Memorial and were provided to families beginning May 2022. Families are provided swaddle sacks on their day of discharge and are taught by nursing staff on how to use them. Memorial also provides an informational swaddle sack handout for at-home reference. The Memorial Foundation provided funding for the swaddle sacks, cribs and certification.
“Swaddle sacks help prevent loose blankets from getting over the baby’s face,” Dr. Colvin said. “Receiving blankets easily become dislodged, especially as the infant gets older, which can cover the baby’s face, putting them at risk for SUID.”
Dr. Colvin said SUID is the most common cause of death in infants 29 days up to 1 year of age.
“In the US, there are about 93 deaths per 100,000 live births, or about 3,400 deaths per year,” she said. “In Illinois, the rate is about 91 deaths per 100,000 live births, however, rates in St. Clair and Madison County are higher than the state and national average. Our participating in this program indicates our commitment to safe sleep and reducing infant mortality in our region.”
Families are required to watch a 20-minute safe sleep video before discharge. They also receive a handout about safe sleep and in-person education from nursing staff and providers throughout their stay.
“Safe sleep practices help reduce the risk of sudden infant death, and as a healthcare provider, it is our job to ensure that families are provided with the education and training in order to help reduce these risks,” McEvers said.
Memorial is required to achieve reaccreditation of the National Safe Sleep Certification every three years. You can find more information about the Cribs for Kids program and accreditation requirements at www.cribsforkids.org/hospitalcertification.