Research Medical Center April 12, 2013

Research Medical Center, part of HCA Midwest Health System—Kansas City’s largest healthcare provider and private-sector employer—joins forces with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in its Safe to Sleep campaign to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID).  The new campaign is an expansion of the previous Back to Sleep campaign, which launched in 1994.  Since the launch, the SIDS rate dropped by more than 50 percent across all populations.  However, the rate has plateaued in recent years. 

“Research Medical Center is excited to expand on the success of the Back to Sleep program and continue with the proven steps to inform parents of safe sleep habits,” says Beth Hopkins, director of Women’s Services.  “With the launch of the Safe to Sleep campaign we are thrilled to rollout our HALO SleepSack program which provides new parents with a wearable blanket for their newborn to ensure their safety and comfort.”

The new Safe to Sleep campaign aims to expand upon the success of the previous Back to Sleep campaign by reducing the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.  It incorporates the most current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics on safe infant sleep practices.  In addition, the campaign will help educate parents and caregivers on ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.  The campaign will continue to spread the messages of safe infant sleep to all communities while also providing outreach to those communities most affected by SIDS.  African American and American Indian/Alaska Native babies are at a higher risk of SIDS than infants of other races and ethnicities. 

SIDS is the sudden, unexpected death of a baby younger than one year of age that doesn’t have a known cause, even after a complete investigation, and is the leading cause of death for that age range.  SIDS is just one type of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), which includes those from no clear reason, such as SIDS, and those from a known reason, such as suffocation or other sleep-related causes. 

Key points for parents in helping to prevent infant sleep-related causes of death include placing a baby on his or her back to sleep for naps and at night. Also, parents should ensure the baby sleeps in a separate sleep area in their bedroom. If a baby is brought into a bed to breastfeed, put him or her into a separate sleep area, such as a safety-approved crib, bassinet, or portable play area when finished.  Use a firm sleep surface covered by a fitted sheet to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of death and remove loose bedding, soft objects and toys.

More information will be available at the Women’s Health Booth at The Research Foundation’s 2013 Community Block Party and Health Fair in Research Medical Center’s west parking lot at 2316 E Meyer Blvd., Kansas City, MO, 64132 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 27, 2013.  The Women’s Health Booth will have nurses and staff available to answer questions on the Safe to Sleep campaign.

For more information on the Safe to Sleep campaign, visit nichd.nih.gov/SIDS