Healthcare providers play a pivotal role in an infant’s well-being after they leave the hospitals. Parents are more opt to replicate the practices that they see being practiced in the hospital setting. Modeling the correct practices is the most important aspect of your job.
Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz is asking for your help with this issue in this letter issued to all hospitals.
- Letter from EOHHS Secretary John Polanowicz file size 1MB
Educating Parents and Caregivers
Research has shown that one of the main reasons for parents not wanting to place infants on their backs for sleep is because of the fear of infant choking. Parents/caregivers incorrectly believe that an infant on its back is at greater risk of aspiration. Please feel free to download/laminate this image to use when counseling parents, use it to explain points, using terminology that you can tailor as needed for parents:
- In the supine (back) position, the infant’s trachea (“breathing tube”) lies above the esophagus (‘swallowing tube’).
- If the infant regurgitates (‘spits up’, ‘throws up’), gravity is much more likely to prevent aspiration (“gravity is much more likely to cause it to roll back down the esophagus”)
- In the prone (stomach) position, the trachea lies below the esophagus. In this position, if the infant regurgitates, gravity is more likely to cause it to flow into the trachea and possibly into the lungs.
New Online Curriculum for Nurses
FREE, UPDATED Continuing Education (CE) Activity on Risk Reduction for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Other Sleep-Related Causes of Infant Death: Curriculum for Nurses.
Nurses who successfully complete the CE activity will earn 1.1 contact hours.
Resources for Creating an Infant Safe Sleep Policy or Standards
Here are resources to assist your hospital in developing a safe sleep policy, as well as educating parents and other care givers.
- Creating a Hospital and Community Based Infant Safe Sleep Education and Awareness Program: The York Hospital Experience. Michael Goodstein, Wellspan Health.
- Hospital Initiative Toolkit
DPH Infant Safe Sleep Policy
In 2012, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health developed a department-wide internal policy for all of its child-serving programs to follow with regard to infant safe sleep environments. The policy was unanimously endorsed by the State Child Fatality Review Team and all of the other state child-serving agencies began incorporating the policy into their own practices. The DPH Infant Safe Sleep Policy is based upon the most recent American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep recommendations. It is not intended to be used as a handout for parents and caregivers, it is provided here to be used as a reference or model policy by professional providers.