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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2015;28(14):1637-40. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2014.964679. Epub 2014 Sep 29.

Implementing safe sleep practices in a neonatal intensive care unit.

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a Division of Neonatology , Department of Pediatrics .



Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) remains the leading cause of death in the postnatal period. Accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed deaths have quadrupled. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) expanded its back to sleep recommendations to include a safe sleep environment. The AAP makes recommendations to healthcare professionals to model safe sleep practices and educate families on SIDS reduction strategies. The dual aims of this project were to develop a safe sleep educational model for our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and to increase the percentage of eligible infants in a safe sleep environment.


The NICU Safe Sleep policy was revised to include AAP updated recommendations. Educational updates were provided to staff. A safe sleep packet with a video was created for and shared with families. Wearable blankets were implemented. A safe sleep observation checklist was created. Baseline data and post-education random observations data were collected and shared with staff.


At baseline, 21% of eligible infants were in a safe sleep environment. After education and reported observation, safe sleep compliance increased to 88%.


With formal staff and family education, optional wearable blanket, and data sharing, safe sleep compliance increased and patient safety improved.


Injury prevention; safe to sleep; sudden infant death

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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