Safe Sleep 101
Welcome to NICHQ’s official guide to ensuring safe infant sleep! We’re providing you with the tools and knowledge to work toward eliminating SIDS and other sleep-related deaths. Below, you’ll find strategies and interactive resources to promote safe infant sleep guidelines, along with lessons learned to empower health professionals, community advocates, and families across the country to be champions of safe sleep.
Resources for Parents, Families, and Caregivers
Every new person who learns about safe infant sleep is one more person who can promote safe infant sleep guidelines. Help build collective knowledge across the country by sharing safe infant sleep information using these resources:
- Our Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding Myths and Facts are translated in 11 different languages!
- Health professionals can use this interactive handout and video quiz to engage parents and caregivers in conversations about safe infant sleep and breastfeeding recommendations.
- Educating childcare providers about safe sleep practices is essential. In this handout, you’ll learn the definition of SIDS and how to reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, how to create a safe sleep environment, and more.
- This helpful guide helps ensure baby registries meet safe sleep recommendations and guidelines.
Equitable Safe Sleep Strategies and Messaging
SUID rates for American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Non-Hispanic Black babies are more than twice those of white babies. These statistics represent real families who suffer unimaginable loss—a loss that stems from the persistent effects of systemic racism on the health of families from historically marginalized communities.
- Learn strategies for building community trust and addressing safe sleep disparities from safe sleep expert Stacy Scott, NICHQ VP of Health Equity Innovation.
- Read recommendations from three experts on how health professionals and improvement initiatives can better support the health and well-being of Black families.
Past Safe Sleep Webinars
While sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) and breastfeeding are public health issues across population groups, significant disparities exist across race, ethnicity, and geography.
- To center the lived experiences of communities, many MCH programs are shifting to community-driven work to promote safe sleep and breastfeeding, including the National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep Improvement and Innovation Network (NAPPSS-IIN). This webinar discusses how the NAPPSS-IIN programmatic and evaluation pursuits shifted to center community voices within participatory quality improvement (QI).
- NICHQ VP of Health Equity Innovation Stacy Scott, PhD, MPA, founder of the Global Infant Safe Sleep Center, leads a series of role playing exercises where she demonstrates tactics to engage families from different backgrounds in meaningful conversations about safe sleep. These actionable skills will benefit all health professionals, human service providers, community health workers, home visitors, peer supporters and family members working to improve infant health outcomes.
NICHQ's Safe Sleep Reading List
3 Lessons from Centering Community Voices: Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding Using a Quality Improvement Framework
Quality improvement (QI) work is driven by an interest in implementing changes that lead to improvements. In breastfeeding and safe sleep work, this can be challenging. It can be difficult to fully and accurately understand the source of maternal and child health inequities. Learn how National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep Improvement in Innovation Network (NAPPSS-IIN) project confronted these challenges and found that community-based participatory quality improvement might hold the answer. As NAPPSS-IIN concludes its fifth year of breastfeeding and safe sleep work, three key lessons have emerged about the value of community voice in breastfeeding and safe sleep quality improvement.
Historic Trauma is Affecting Tomorrow’s Children
When Indigenous people were dispossessed from their land, they not only lost their homes but were separated from their way of life. And in many cases, children were forcefully taken from their families. How do we synthesize the promotion of breastfeeding and safe sleep practices among within the context of this historical trauma? Collectively our Indigenous healthcare professionals offer three ideas.
Applying an Equity Lens to Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding Efforts
Black families are twice as likely as white families to have their baby die in the first year of life. These statistics are more than numbers; they represent real families who suffer unimaginable loss—loss that stems from the persistent effects of systemic racism on the health of black families. Here, faculty experts on a national safe sleep and breastfeeding initiative share their recommendations for how health professionals and improvement initiatives can better support the health and well-being of black families.
Closing the Gaps in Safe Sleep Education in Underserved Populations
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death for infants and is highly correlated with unsafe sleep practices, which is why the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (Infant Mortality CoIIN) has made safe sleep practices one of its six focus areas.
Eliminating Sleep-Related Infant Deaths Starts by Identifying What Causes Them
Understanding what causes infant deaths gives states and communities the information they need to identify focused, effective solutions. This makes infant mortality data—data that reveals the causes and contributors to death and system barriers—irreplaceable assets for any infant health improvement effort. And that makes the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention (National CFRP) an essential partner.
How Do We Address Safe Sleep Disparities? Start by Building Trust
Healthy babies shouldn’t die in their sleep. But, despite decades of trying to reduce the number of sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) they still persist. And most often, their persistence affects families of color. In this article, Founder of the Global Infant Safe Sleep Center, Stacy Scott, shares ideas on how we can best address this alarming lack of equity and reduce sleep-related deaths across all populations.
Putting Unsafe Sleep Marketing to Bed
It's vitally important that parents and other infant caregivers receive consistent and accurate messaging on safe sleep. But unfortunately, expectant families receive a lot of mixed messages. We all need to do a better job translating what the research identifies as best practices into helping families in the day-to-day practice of caring for their infants.
Successful Strategies Hospitals Can Use to Support Safe Sleep
Hospitals on a national initiative to improve safe sleep came together to share successes and lessons-learned. Here, find their highest-rated strategies and change ideas, all of which reflect early successes in their work. Hospitals seeking to improve safe sleep education can refer to this list as a place to start and guide for gaining quick wins.
It’s Past Time to Prevent SIDS and Sleep-Related Infant Deaths
In the U.S., Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), suffocation and other sleep-related causes claim approximately 3,600 babies every year. That number translates to nearly 165 unfilled kindergarten classrooms. Doing better by American families starts by identifying what’s working and outlining opportunities for improvement. Here, NICHQ Faculty Expert Michael Goodstein, MD, a neonatologist and international safe sleep expert, discusses what priorities should shape improvement efforts in the years to come.