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Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano Encourages Safe Newborn Sleep, SIDS Prevention By Example
05/18/2011

PLANO, Texas — Nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano are taking an extra step to help educate new parents about how to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

In addition to traditional teaching methods used to introduce new parents to important guidelines defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Texas Health Plano is now giving each set of new parents a wearable infant blanket to take home. The blanket is designed to help promote safe sleep, said Teri Rutherford, BSN, RNC, LRN, newborn nursery supervisor.

“We’ve always done SIDS education, but we wanted to take the next step and model the behavior for new parents,” Rutherford said. “We think that if we show them how to do it in the hospital, there is more of a chance they will do it at home.”

The wearable blankets, complete with instructions and Velcro tabs, are specifically designed to help take the guesswork out of swaddling and keep all fabrics away from the baby’s face and mouth, Rutherford said. Having fabrics or any soft items near a baby’s mouth during sleep time can cause the baby to begin breathing in his or her own carbon dioxide. The blankets also have an embroidered “Back is Best” message, further encouraging placement of babies on their backs to sleep.

SIDS remains the leading cause of death among infants aged one to 12 months in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the exact cause of SIDS remains unknown, the incidence of SIDS deaths dropped 53 percent from 1992 to 2001 — during which time the government led a widespread public awareness campaign called “Back to Sleep.”* The campaign encouraged the placement of babies on their backs while sleeping.**

Encouraging back sleeping is a key element of the Texas Health Plano safe sleep initiative, said Tracy Morgan, director of women’s and infant’s services.

“There are 10 key steps that we teach, based on the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, and the wearable blankets help us demonstrate several of these steps,” Morgan said. “Providing this service to our community is just the right thing to do.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following for SIDS prevention:

  • Lie the infant on his or her back for sleeping
  • Use a safety approved crib with a firm mattress and a tight fitting sheet
  • Remove all soft materials and loose bedding from the crib, including quilts, comforters, pillows, sheepskins, stuffed toys, and bumpers
  • Refrain from smoking during pregnancy, a major risk factor in nearly every epidemiological study of SIDS. Prevent exposure to secondhand smoke after birth.
  • Do not co-bed, or allow the baby to sleep in the same bed with parents or siblings. Sleeping in a separate but close proximity to the mother is recommended.
  • During the first year of life, consider using a pacifier when the infant is falling asleep, but do not reinsert once the infant falls asleep.
  • Avoid overheating. Use light clothing at bed time and set the bedroom temperature at a comfortable level for a lightly clothed adult. Do not over bundle. The baby should not feel hot to the touch.

There is no evidence to show that home electronic or cardiac monitors decrease the incidence of SIDS. Do not rely on these devices as a SIDS prevention strategy.

Educate anyone who cares for babies about these important tips:

  • Avoid development of a flattened head by:
    • Encouraging upright cuddle time and tummy time when the infant is awake and observed
    • Avoiding excessive time in carriers and bouncers
    • Altering the position of the head during sleep by placing the infant to sleep with the head to one side for one week and alternating the next.

Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website for more information about infant safe sleep. For more information about Texas Health Plano, call 1-877-THR-WELL or visit TexasHealth.org/Plano.

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano is a 368-bed acute care hospital and recognized clinical program leader, providing technologically advanced care to Plano and surrounding areas since 1991. The hospital’s services include orthopedics, cardiovascular services, oncology, pediatrics and women’s services. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Plano has more than 1,600 employees and 1,200 physicians on the medical staff. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL or visit TexasHealth.org/Plano.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States. The health system includes 24 acute care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. It includes the Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial and Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, a large physician group, outpatient facilities, and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education.

For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.

* American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement
** American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement

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