Texas County Memorial Hospital achieves Cribs for Kids Safe Sleep Certification

HOUSTON, Mo. – Texas County Memorial Hospital has received the gold-level Safe Sleep Certification through the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program.

The program was created In 1998 by Cribs for Kids in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The organization is committed to preventing Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and accidental suffocation. In 2006, the group expanded nationally and currently holds a Trademark License Agreement with over 1,800 partners in the United States.

Texas County Memorial Hospital (TCMH) collaborated closely with The Community Partnership in Rolla to earn the designation by training and setting goals to ensure safe practices in infant safe sleep.

Jennifer Terrill, obstetrics director at TCMH, says Texas County’s mortality rate was 10.25 deaths per 1,000 for infants. 

According to CDC data, there are approximately 3,400 sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) in the United States per year. In 2020, there were 1,389 deaths due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), 1,062 deaths due to unknown causes and 905 deaths due to accidental suffocation and strangulation while sleeping in a bed. 

If new patients do not have a safe place for their infant to sleep, they will be given a free crib, educational booklets and safe sleep sacks. If the patient already has a safe sleeping space for their baby, they are provided a Safe Sleep kit and information about SIDS. 

“People don’t realize certain things like stuffed animals, blankets and too warm of an environment don’t promote safe sleep,” Terrill said. “Some people don’t have resources to get a newer crib, or things are passed down from one family member to the next. Someone may buy something at a consignment store and those types of things. This helps us help our patients that may not have access to those resources.”

In addition, Terrill advises against using old and outdated bumper cribs due to safety concerns. Infants should sleep alone on their back in a crib, bassinet, or playpen with a firm mattress.

TCMH received a grant from the Community Partnership to support the cause until it becomes self-sustaining. Terrill reports that the nursing administration and chief financial officer at TCMH have worked together to come up with ideas for preserving their gold-level certification. The plan involves using next year’s nursery operating budget and potentially seeking extra grants.

The Safe Sleep training at the hospital was well-utilized by employees from every department, as Terrill stated, and the director has a message for those hesitant to seek assistance.

“There is nothing to be afraid of. Even if you didn’t deliver here or you aren’t planning on it, we want you to deliver here. We are going to help you, regardless. They can call us, come in and we will get them the safe sleep education and help supply them with a safe place for their baby to sleep.”

It is important to note that patient names are kept anonymous during the process. For more information about Cribs for Kids, visit the website.

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