National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program recognizes SGCMH
(pictured l-r) Rita Brumfield, SGCMH CNO; Dr. Philip Kintner, OB/GYN; Dr. Shilpa Desai, Pediatrician;Bernadette Hill, RN, MSN; and Dr. Tony Lam, OB/GYN.
Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital (SGCMH) was recently recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program as a Bronze Safe Sleep Hospital for their commitment to best practices and education on infant safe sleep.
Often whenever we think about newborns, we think so much about bottle and breast feeding; bathing, and those kinds of things,” said Bernadette Hill, RN, MSN, Director of Women’s Health Services at SGCMH. “But we tend to forget that the baby spends a lot of time in the crib and we need to make sure that’s a very safe environment.”
Hill explained that the OB staff at SGCMH took part in a training program so they could learn to teach parents about safe sleep and what a safe sleep environment looks like, many practices the hospital already had in place. For example, babies sleep best alone, on their backs and in the crib. Extra blankets, bumper pads, and stuffed animals are not recommended as they are suffocation hazards.
“It’s best if babies sleep in a onesie, and keep the temperature regulated in the room,” she said. “Babies who are too hot are at a higher risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).”
One thing that is still recommended is the trusty pacifier.
“If you are choosing to bottle feed or once breastfeeding is well established, the use of a pacifier is recommended,” she said. “The use of pacifiers at night have also been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Hill said the amount of information they convey to the parents is a lot for the short time they are at SGCMH.
“To help, we actually give them a picture of what a safe sleep environment looks like,” she said. “It spells out what is and what is not appropriate in the crib, and that way they don’t have to worry about having to remember everything we’re saying to them at one time.”
Hill said one challenging aspect is explaining to the baby’s grandparents these important protocols that may have changed since they were first-time parents.
“That is a conversation we often have to have,” Hill said. “Pre-COVID, of course, the mother or mother-in-law of the mom was present many times when we were giving discharge instructions, and many times we’d have to politely say, ‘No grandma, we need to do it this way because the way we were taught is not what is best to do now.’ We sometimes have to explain to them the abundant research behind some of today’s best practices.”
The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created by Cribs for Kids®, a Pittsburgh-based organization dedicated to preventing infant sleep-related deaths due to accidental suffocation.