Hamilton Medical Center (HMC) has been recognized as a Georgia Safe to Sleep Hospital for promoting the Safe to Sleep program, supporting efforts to decrease infant sleep-related deaths.
The goal of Georgia’s Safe to Sleep initiative is to educate mothers, fathers, grandparents and caregivers about the importance of putting babies to sleep following the ABCs of Safe Sleep as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“The Safe to Sleep initiative has always been important to me because it saves hundreds of lives each year in Georgia,” said Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal who champions the program. “As a parent of four and grandparent of six, I understand how it feels when your children cry out in the night. It’s very tempting to want to place them in your bed, but the risks of bed-sharing are just too great.”
Mothers of babies born at HMC are given an infant gown with “This Side Up” messaging to reinforce the fact that babies sleep safest on their backs. They also receive a Safe to Sleep book reminding all caregivers about the importance of safe sleep. Travel bassinets are given to Medicaid and uninsured families that can be used for babies up to 15 pounds or 4 to 6 months old. The bassinets can be used when a baby is sleeping away from their crib in another room in the home or when the baby is being cared for outside the home.
Georgia has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. Every week, three infants in Georgia die due to sleep-related causes, many of which are preventable. Sleep-related infant deaths occur suddenly, but parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of these tragic deaths by following the ABCs of safe sleep.
- Alone – babies should sleep alone in their own sleep space, close to but separate from their caregiver.
- Back – babies should be placed on their back to sleep. Every nap. Every sleep. Every time.
- Crib – babies should sleep in a crib or bassinet with a firm, flat surface with no extra things such as crib bumpers, blankets or toys.
HMC has pledged to model safe sleep behaviors, ensuring that parents of newborns, their families and caregivers are educated on and have the resources to create safe sleep environments for their babies before they leave the hospital.
The Safe to Sleep initiative is a collaboration led by Deal, the Georgia Children’s Cabinet, Georgia Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society.