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Upstate University Hospital earns recognition as ‘Gold Safe Sleep Champion’

Upstate University Hospital has been recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program as a “Gold Safe Sleep Champion” for its commitment to best practices and education on infant safe sleep. Upstate is the only hospital in Syracuse with this designation.

“Preventable sleep related infant death is one of the leading causes of death to children under the age of one in not only Onondaga County, but New York state, said Michelle Jeski, advanced practice resource nurse with Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. “Statistically, we know our community needs more support on how to keep their baby safe during sleep. This certification recognizes our work to become the leading educator in our community on how to prevent sleep related infant deaths.”

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. In addition to being Cribs for Kids® partners, Upstate University Hospital was recognized for following the safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and providing training programs for parents, staff and the community.

To achieve Gold Safe Sleep Champion status, the Family Birth Center at the Upstate Community Campus and Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital have met a set of strict criteria that includes, among other things,

—Training staff working with children under one year of age on infant safe sleep

—Providing infant safe sleep education to parents of infants prior to discharge

—Using wearable blankets in the nursery and inpatient pediatric units

—Conducting outreach activities related to infant safe sleep

—Sending a consistent message about safe sleep to families

—Role modeling what families should be doing at home

—Using wearable blankets for admitted patients.

“Providing newborns with the safest and healthiest start to life is our top priority,” said Laurie Fegley, nurse manager with the Jim and Dede Walsh Family Birth Center, located on the Community Campus.  “Our safe sleep efforts extend beyond the hospital. We want to ensure that when parents are at home, away from the hospitals and nurses, that they know how to put their babies to sleep in the safest way possible.”

Upstate screens all patients under 1 year of age to make sure they have an independent safe sleep surface at home. If the assessment indicates they don’t, Upstate provides a pack ‘n play for families to take home and use free of charge. The pack ‘n plays are provided to families for free thanks to funding from the Upstate Foundation and Safe Kids Upstate New York Coalition.

“Sleep-Related Death (SRD) results in the loss of more than 3,500 infants every year in the U.S.,” said Michael H. Goodstein, M.D., neonatologist and medical director of research at Cribs for Kids. “We know that consistent education can have a profound effect on infant mortality, and this program is designed to encourage safe sleep education and to recognize those hospitals that are taking an active role in reducing these preventable deaths.”

This program is aligned with the Maternal Child Health Bureau’s vision of reducing infant mortality through the promotion of infant sleep safety as outlined in Infant Mortality CoIIN Initiative.  Thirty-six states have designated SIDS/SUID/SRD as their emphasis to reduce infant mortality.

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.

According to Judith A. Bannon, Executive Director and Founder for Cribs for Kids®, “The program kicked off in June of 2015 in Pittsburgh, home of the Cribs for Kids® national headquarters.  Hundreds of participating hospitals across the United States, including Quebec Canada, have already achieved the ‘Gold Champion’ status, or are working their way toward it.  This will have a profound effect on the number of babies’ lives that will be saved.”

For more information on Safe Sleep at Upstate visit www.upstatesafesleep.org

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