ABCs of Safe Sleep Education Reduces Sleep-Related Infant Deaths in Tennessee

Posted April 12, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

Tennessee Safe Sleep Poster
Tennessee's safe sleep guide contains the basic information that all parents and caregivers need to know about safe sleep behaviors.

Through a multi-faceted statewide campaign, which includes teaching new parents and hospital staff the ABCs of safe sleep practices, Tennessee has seen a 25 percent reduction in sleep-related infant deaths since 2014.

"With a concerted effort and the awareness and actions of all of us who care for infants, we don't have to lose another baby to a preventable sleep-related death," said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, in a press release. "These deaths can be stopped with consistent, persistent safe sleep practices."

Tennessee’s successful safe sleep strategy has focused on teaching and modeling safe sleep behaviors—both in the hospital setting and directly with parents—using the primary message, “Remember the ABCs of Safe Sleep.” There are three critical elements to a safe sleep environment:

  • "A" is for Alone: always let the baby sleep alone, never in a bed with another person where the baby could be smothered and never with pillows or blankets.
  • "B" is for on the baby's Back: an infant should be placed to sleep on his or her back, not on his or her side or stomach.
  • "C" is for Crib: always put your child to sleep in a crib with only a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheet. 

"Parents go home and model the sleep behavior they see in the hospital," says Rachel Heitmann, MS, section chief, Injury Prevention and Detection, Tennessee Department of Health (TDH). "We thought if we could get our hospitals modeling the right behavior, and teach parents, that we could decrease sleep-related deaths."

The assumption was right. A hospital safe sleep project that started in 2014 at all 65 birthing hospitals in the state led to a 45.3 percent decrease in unsafe sleep environments in the hospital based on quarterly crib audits. At the heart of the project was the requirement of each hospital to have a safe sleep policy. Once the policy was implemented, hospitals received enough Sleep Baby Safe and Snug board books to give to new parents for an entire year, along with educational products and a certificate from the commissioner. All 65 birthing hospitals in Tennessee now have a safe sleep policy and 12 have received the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Certification.

To reach families in a different way, TDH worked with its Women, Infants and Children’s program to develop educational online modules for parents. All Tennessee parents that are eligible for WIC benefits are required to complete certain educational online modules to get vouchers. Modules include topics like healthy snacks, kitchen safety and newly added ones on breastfeeding and safe sleep. Pre and post-module tests measures parents’ intent and knowledge around the topics. 

TDH also partnered with first responders to educate parents through the Direct On-Scene Education (D.O.S.E.External Link) program. First responders have distributed hundreds of safe sleep informational packets to parents. 

"Unfortunately there is no single project or no single group that can prevent sleep-related infant deaths. We believe that our success has come as the result of our multi-pronged approach and partnership with a variety of stakeholders," says Michael Warren, MD, MPH, the Tennessee Maternal and Child Health director.


Learn more about the ABCs of safe sleep at safesleep.tn.govExternal Link.

Share:

Add your comment

 
 

 

Archive

Tagcloud

quality improvement tips QI PDSA cycle baby box safe sleep nichq infant mortality family engagement eccs coiin immunizations health equity health disparities accreditation im coiin astho onboarding collaboration engagement partnerships larc nashp breastfeeding new york wic new york state hospitals mom mother partners epilepsy data AAP early childhood pdsas texas community support learning session children's health new technology engineering transgender collaborative learning planning PDSA planning paralysis underplanning analysis paralysis vision eye health smoking smoke-free housing second-hand smoke toolkit e-module infant health dental care oral health underserved populations health inequity public health Maternal and Child Health Journal leadership engagement Sickle cell disease indiana SCD medicaid perinatal regionalization sudden infant death syndrome national birth defects prevention month birth defects pregnancy planning one key question prepregnancy health preconception health public breastfeeding support families patients experts insights CHOPT childhood obesity innovation food desert telemedicine TBLC breastfeeding supporting preterm birth prematurity racial disparities audiology ehdi follow-up illinois talana hughes vulnerable populations sports asthma soccer basketball obesity football SIDS Pokemon Go gamification smartphones interconception care birth spacing issue brief contraceptive use postpartum care CoIN HRSA early childhood trauma NHSA community health consumer advocacy womens health interconception health teenage health PATCH wisconsin missouri risk appropriate care community health workers SCD< infographic infant mortality awareness month inspirations childrens health national breastfeeding month maternal health patient engagement hearing loss hearing treatment pediatric vision vision screening eyesight pre-term birth early-term birth SCD clinic los angeles LOCATe CDC levels of care neonatal care maternal care smoking cessation project safe sleep practices neonatal abstinence syndrome NAS opioids maternal and child health MCH Family voices quality care mental health hydroxyurea SCDTDP men dads testing change data sharing state government city government apps sleep AJPM preconception care senior leadership breastfeeding support video series access BQIH exclusive breastfeeding long-acting reversible contraception unplanned pregnancies social determinants of health health innovations Best Babies Zone CoIIN baby boxes Rhode Island progesterone rooming-in Baby-Friendly parent partner patient and family engagement healthy weight healthy lifestyles primary care telementoring ECHO video conferencing socioemotional health childhood development pediatric Tennessee interview National Coordinating and Evaluation Center medical-legal partnerships mobile app disparities perinatal care overweight obese healthy weight clinic wellness pilot sites data collection education resources paternal engagement risk-appropriate care preterm infants high-risk babies Ten Steps public relations social movement reversible contraceptives medical home pediatric medical home patient transformation facilitator PTF skin-to-skin rooming in prenatal smoking information visualization charts SUID postpartum new mother webinar AMCHP QI Tips ongoing improvement fourth trimester partnership quality and safety coaching leadership support year end holiday message reflections gratitute Medicaid data doctor relationship PQC perinatal quality collaboratives vision care vision health evidence-based guidelines ASH health and wellness healthy living healthy eating home visitors home visiting programs March of Dimes APHA results evaluation supplementation formula reduction video infant loss social media advocacy leadership Berns Best Fed Beginnings Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding sustainability stress prenatal care data capacity epidemiologists surveillance data PFAC community partners preconception and interconception care motivational interviewing Native Americans ADHD NICHQ Vanderbilt Assessment Scale ADHD Toolkit system design care coordination skin to skin newborn screening reduce smoking aim statement safe birth Texas Ten Step skin-to-skin contact 10 Steps staff training small tests acute care mother-baby couplet collective impact population health preconception Newborn Screening Program substance abuse breast milk formula milk bank crisis first responders NYC improvement healthcare health system sickle cell diease treatment protocol family health partner maternity care Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network Health Outcomes Cross-Sector Collaboration Knowledge Sharing Child Health