(O’Fallon, IL) – HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital was recently recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program as a “Bronze Safe Sleep Hospital” for their commitment to best practices and education on infant safe sleep. They are the first and only hospital in the Metro East region to receive this recognition.
The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created by Cribs for Kids®, a Pittsburgh-based organization dedicated to preventing infant, sleep-related deaths due to accidental suffocation. In addition to being Cribs for Kids® partners, St. Elizabeth’s was recognized for following the safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and providing training programs for parents, staff and the community.
“Sleep-Related Death (SRD) results in the loss of more than 3,500 infants every year in the U.S.,” said Michael H. Goodstein, M.D., neonatologist and medical director of research at Cribs for Kids®. “We know that consistent education can have a profound effect on infant mortality, and this program is designed to encourage safe sleep education and to recognize those hospitals that are taking an active role in reducing these preventable deaths.”
This program is well-aligned with the Maternal Child Health Bureau's vision of reducing infant mortality through the promotion of infant sleep safety as outlined in Infant Mortality CoIIN Initiative. Forty states have designated SIDS/SUID/SRD as their emphasis to reduce infant mortality.
St. Elizabeth’s identified infant mortality as a priority health need in the region after review of the 2018 St. Clair County Community Health Improvement Plan data and input from community leaders. The report also notes several factors contributing to infant mortality rates such as access to prenatal care, smoking during pregnancy, birthweight and gestational age, the birth rate of teen mothers, as well as the rate of sexually transmitted diseases.
“While St. Elizabeth’s Women and Infants Center always educates new mothers about the risk factors associated with infant mortality, we are working diligently within the hospital and with community partners to increase this important education and resources for our mothers and families in order to improve these outcomes,” said nurse manager of St. Elizabeth’s Women and Infants Center Deb Meidel, RN BSN. “We are pleased to have received this special certification as a result of these efforts.”
St. Elizabeth’s community outreach includes offering Safe Sleep classes in partnership with the Pregnancy Care Center of Belleville and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and public education at Bundles for Babies, an event for new moms and moms-to-be, held annually.
The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created in partnership with leading infant health and safety organizations such as All Baby & Child, The National Center for the Review & Prevention of Child Deaths, Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs, Kids in Danger, Children’s Safety Network, American SIDS Institute, Charlie’s Kids, CJ Foundation for SIDS, and numerous state American Academy of Pediatric chapters and health departments.
According to Judith A. Bannon, Executive Director and Founder for Cribs for Kids®, “The program kicked off in June 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of the Cribs for Kids® national headquarters. Hundreds of participating hospitals across the United States and Canada, have already achieved the ‘Gold Champion’ status, or are working their way toward it. This will have a profound effect on the number of babies’ lives that will be saved.”
For more information on the Cribs for Kids® National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program visit http://www.cribsforkids.org/safesleephospitalcertification, or to learn more about St. Elizabeth’s Women and Infants Center call 618-234-2120, ext. 31260.