Alamance Regional Medical Center has been recognized for teaching the importance of “Back to Sleep.” Shown to reduce infant deaths attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the back to sleep position is taught to every new parent while in the hospital’s BirthPlace.
Nurses teach and model the back to sleep position as a safe sleep practice, which means always laying a baby on his or her back for sleeping. Teaching the back to sleep position is part of a comprehensive program of safe sleep education that has earned Alamance Regional recognition as a Safe Sleep Leader for 2012. The Safe Sleep Leader awards are coordinated by The North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation.
“Hospital staff plays an important role in helping to shape new parents’ behavior,” says Becky Holt, Director, Women and Children’s Services, Alamance Regional. “Back to Sleep is an important way that parents and other caregivers can help provide their new babies a safe sleep environment. Although Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS cannot be prevented, a safe sleep environment is one of the most important things one can do to reduce the risk. Some of our new moms have commented that they have a better understanding of the importance of back to sleep through our Safe Sleep program."
Other sleep practices parents learn at the BirthPlace include creating a safe environment, such as a crib or bassinet that is free of pillows, comforters and toys; eliminating tobacco smoke exposure; keeping the room temperature comfortable; and breastfeeding when possible. In addition to nurses teaching each parent about safe sleep, parents also receive materials to take home. Displays that illustrate safe sleep practices are located on the BirthPlace unit and in the waiting areas.
The Safe Sleep award is an extension of the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation’s hospital-based safe sleep initiative, HOPES (Hospital Outreach and Partnership for Education about Safe Sleep), started in 2007. The award is endorsed by the North Carolina Hospital Association and the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force.