NYMC Faculty Publications

Implementing a Hospital-Based Safe Sleep Program for Newborns and Infants.

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Advances in Neonatal Care

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Second Department

Health Behavior and Community Health

Third Department

Epidemiology and Community Health


BACKGROUND: An unsafe sleep environment remains the leading contributor to unexpected infant death.

PURPOSE: To determine the effectiveness of a quality improvement initiative developed to create a hospital-based safe sleep environment for all newborns and infants.

METHODS: A multidisciplinary team from the well-baby nursery (WBN) and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of a 149-bed academic, quaternary care, regional referral center developed and implemented safe sleep environments within the hospital for all prior to discharge. To monitor compliance, the following were tracked monthly: documentation of parent education, caregiver surveys, and hospital crib check audits. On the inpatient general pediatric units, only hospital crib check audits were tracked. Investigators used Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles to evaluate the impact of the initiative from October 2015 through February 2018.

RESULTS: Safe sleep education was documented for all randomly checked records (n = 440). A survey (n = 348) revealed that almost all caregivers (95.4%) reported receiving information on safe infant sleep. Initial compliance with all criteria in WBN (n = 281), NICU (n = 285), and general pediatric inpatient units (n = 121) was 0%, 0%, and 8.3%, respectively. At 29 months, WBN and NICU compliance with all criteria was 90% and 100%, respectively. At 7 months, general pediatric inpatient units' compliance with all criteria was 20%.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: WBN, NICU and general pediatric inpatient unit collaboration with content experts led to unit-specific strategies that improved safe sleep practices.

IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH: Future studies on the impact of such an initiative at other hospitals are needed.