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Safe sleep information for healthcare providers

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.

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 the image below 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.

Safe sleep positioning to reduce the likelihood of choking PDF

Additional resources

New online 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. The resources below can assist your hospital in developing a safe sleep policy, as well as educating parents and other care givers.