UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital and Strong Memorial Hospital’s Obstetrics Division were recently recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program as “Gold Safe Sleep Champions,” the highest designation, for their commitment to best practices and education on infant safe sleep. They are the first and only hospitals in New York State to receive the title.
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, Golisano Children’s Hospital and Strong Memorial Hospital’s Obstetrics Division were recognized for following the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and their robust training programs for parents, staff and the community. Community outreach includes educational conferences, participating in a regional “Parent Talk” television program and more.
“Sleep-related death results in the loss of over 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 recognize those hospitals that are taking an active role in reducing these unnecessary deaths.”
Monroe County’s Baby Safe Sleep Coalition was formed in 2008 with a goal to improve knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about the risk of unsafe sleep environments and, thus, change social norms, as well as parent and caretaker behavior. From 2007 to 2013, 74 infants died in unsafe sleeping conditions in Monroe County – an average of 10 babies a year. The number of deaths had decreased in 2014, but is now on the rise again. Staff from the University of Rochester Medical Center and Golisano Children’s Hospital are active members of the coalition.
“Bringing home a newborn is an extremely vulnerable time for the entire family,” said Elizabeth Murray, D.O., emergency medicine pediatrician at Golisano Children’s Hospital and member of the Baby Safe Sleep Coalition. “It is critical that parents receive accurate information, which, in this case, can be life-saving, when they head home with their newborn. Establishing safe sleep habits before discharge from the hospital will ease that transition to home.”
The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created in partnership with leading infant health and safety organizations such as 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 and numerous state American Academy of Pediatric chapters and health departments.
“The staff at Golisano Children’s Hospital and Strong Memorial Hospital are committed to safe sleep education for all children,” said Timothy Stevens, M.D., Neonatal Intensive Care Unit medical director and chief clinical officer of Golisano Children’s Hospital. “We make every effort to educate parents in the hospital and have many community outreach activities. We are very proud to have administrative support at the highest level to provide safe sleep sacks for all infants born at Strong Memorial Hospital or cared for at Golisano Children’s Hospital.”