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Efforts rewarded for keeping baby safe during sleep

Efforts rewarded for keeping baby safe during sleep
Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana recently received the bronze designation by a national infant safe sleep organization for its commitment to modeling and teaching best sleep practices for infants.

Cribs for Kids, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, created the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program to prevent sleep-related deaths due to accidental suffocation. Carle BroMenn in Normal previously earned a silver designation. As a Nationally Certified Safe Sleep Hospital, Carle Foundation Hospital and Carle BroMenn are recognized for following safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and providing training programs for healthcare team members and family caregivers.

“Obtaining this designation makes Carle Foundation Hospital and Carle BroMenn among very few Illinois hospitals to have the certification,” Brent Reifsteck, MD, medical director of children’s services, said.

“We are very excited to receive the bronze designation and we hope to work with Carle BroMenn and the other hospitals in the Carle Health system to reach for the gold,” said Cortney Nyadaro, RN, inpatient obstetrics nurse supervisor. She and Sarah Church, RN, obstetrics services and maternal child, were aware of the program designation and started working on achieving the designation about a year ago.

Achieving and maintaining the five-year designation with annual updates is a three-pronged effort that includes developing a safe sleep policy statement, training staff who work with babies less than 1 year old on safe sleep guidelines and modeling that behavior with babies in the hospital. Plus, staff work to educate parents on the need for safe sleeping areas when the baby is at home.

Dr. Reifsteck pointed to the Illinois Infant Mortality data report for 2020 that notes infant mortality rates decrease as the mother’s education level increases.

Nyardo said, “After a child is born at Carle, we ask parents to sign an infant safety education and release form to help emphasize the importance of safe sleep both in the hospital and at home.”

Something as seemingly innocent as using a fluffy blanket grandma made could be hazardous for a baby less than 1 year old, she said. A light swaddling is all a baby needs.

Other recommendations by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) for baby’s safe sleep are:
  • Sleep Alone - They should not share a bed or sleep with others.
  • Sleep on their Back - They should be placed on their back every time, by every caretaker.
  • Sleep Crib - They should sleep in a safety approved crib.
  • Sleep Close - They should sleep close by (same room), but separate from others.
  • Sleep Firm - They should be on a firm crib mattress for all sleeping (naps and bedtime). They should not sleep on a couch or chair.  Do not use a car seat, carrier, or other sleep positioner.
  • Sleep Free - The crib should be free of blankets, bumpers, wedges, pillows, stuffed animals, loose bedding, toys, etc. The mattress should be covered with only a single, tight-fitted sheet.
  • Be Smokeless - The infant should be in a smoke-free environment at all times, not just for sleeping
Babies born pre-term are among those at higher risk of SUID (Sudden Unexplained Infant Death) and Dr. Reifsteck pointed out several counties Carle serves have higher than expected pre-term births. Illinois statistics show in 2018, of 145,000 live-born Illinois infants, there were 943 who died before their first birthday. Illinois ranks 36th of 50 states for infant mortality rate. Mississippi had the highest and New Hampshire the lowest rate.

The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created in partnership with leading infant health and safety organizations such as All Baby & Child, The National Center for the Review & Prevention of Child Deaths, Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs, Kids in Danger, Children’s Safety Network, American SIDS Institute, Charlie’s Kids, CJ Foundation for SIDS, and numerous state American Academy of Pediatric chapters and health departments.

More information is available at and

Categories: Staying Healthy, Community

Tags: Baby, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, SUID