(Sioux Falls, SD) Sanford Health has partnered with the state of South Dakota on its Safe Sleep Initiative, the health system announced today. South Dakota’s infant mortality rate is higher than the national rate and higher than all but one of its neighboring states. In 2011, the Governor’s Task Force on Infant Mortality identified promoting awareness and implementation of safe sleep practices as one of six key recommendations for reducing infant death in South Dakota.
The Safe Sleep Initiative is a public/private partnership working to give parents the information and resources they need to provide safe sleep environments for their babies. Joining the Safe Sleep Initiative means Sanford Health will continue to verify existing policies and document if newborns have a safe place to sleep, provide parents information on safe sleep practices, model safe sleep practices in the hospital and nursery settings and ensure the baby has a safe place to sleep when they are discharged and go home.
“For many years, Sanford has promoted safe sleep within our facilities and with our families, and we’re excited to formalize our program by partnering with the state of South Dakota,” says Georgia Stern, director, The Sanford Birth Place. “We provide extensive education at The Birth Place and through our child birth education classes, and since 2007 we have helped nearly 700 families by providing them access to a safe sleep environment when they leave our facility.”
Safe sleep environments include placing the baby on their back to sleep, eliminating bed sharing, using a firm sleep surface with only a fitted sheet, removing soft objects and loose bedding from the crib, prohibiting smoking around the baby and avoiding overheating the baby. These practices can lower the risk for sleep-related infant deaths, including SIDS.
“Hospitals are trusted sources of information for new parents and have a key role to play in promoting safe sleep environments for infants,” said Colleen Winter, Health and Medical Services Director for the Department of Health. “We appreciate Sanford Health’s commitment to making sure its new moms know about the safe sleep recommendations and have access to safe sleep environments for their babies.”
For more information on safe sleep habits, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics, keyword search: A Parent’s Guide to Safe Sleep.