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Safe Sleep and SIDS Awareness Month

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October is Safe Sleep and SIDS Awareness Month. Approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the United States from sleep-related infant deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) and SIDS disproportionately impact families of color, especially black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and low-income families. Learning about safe sleep for babies is important for all caregivers. Consistent, integrated messaging about safe infant sleep and breastfeeding is key. Families benefit from full information and opportunities to openly discuss their concerns about safe sleep and breastfeeding recommendations with knowledgeable sources so they can make informed decisions about their caregiving.

Resources, Tools, & Materials

USBC Resources 

Presented by: Stacy Scott, Ph.D., MPA, Senior Project Director, National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) & Lorena Kaplan, MPH, CHES, Safe to Sleep® Campaign Lead, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health

    • During this session, we heard about the HRSA/MCHB-funded National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep Improvement and Innovation Network (NAPPSS-IIN) initiative, led by National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ). With a coalition of over 50 national stakeholder organizations, including Federal partners, NAPPSS-IIN is making infant safe sleep and breastfeeding the national norm by activating systems, supports, and services to systematically work together. Understanding the factors that influence parent and caregiver behaviors will help providers develop risk reduction strategies in partnership with families. We learned about NICHD’s Safe to Sleep® campaign, and the #SafeSleepSnap toolkit, launched in October. Active participation in the #SafeSleepSnap photo activity by individuals and organizations can help strengthen social norms around safe infant sleep by raising awareness of safe sleep environments and breastfeeding  

NBCC Highlights 

Presented by Suzanne Bronheim, NAPPSS Project Director, National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University & Susan Lorenzo, NAPPSS Senior Program Manager, National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health at Georgetown University 

    • This session provided an overview of the National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep (NAPPSS), a HRSA/MCHB-funded initiative that is engaging a coalition of over 50 national organizations, with the active involvement of federal partners including the NICHD’s Safe to Sleep campaign. The mission of NAPPSS is to develop and implement a practical National Action Plan to Increase Safe Infant Sleep and partner to support breastfeeding among infant caregivers by activating systems, supports, and services to systematically work together to make safe infant sleep a national norm. NAPPSS Project Director Suzanne Bronheim shared about the evolution of their unique and innovative approach, which builds on the success of public education campaigns to raise awareness, but focuses on the next step—moving from awareness to action, or "from Campaigns to Conversations."
  • Safer Night Nursing: the Elephant in the Room

Presented by the USBC Infant Sleep Constellation: Cecilia Tomori, Kathleen Marinelli, Lucia Jenkins, Tamara Hawkins, Melissa Bartick, & Linda J. Smith

    • This presentation described risk-reduction strategies and safety guidelines for safer bedsharing in the context of breastfeeding mothers; some research findings on sleep/wake/feeding patterns in infancy for breastfed infants; the breastfeeding mother’s own sleep needs including strategies for safer daytime sleep situations; instinctive maternal-infant sleep behaviors that protect the infant; and more. An extensive reference list was included. Breastfed babies have the lowest rates of SIDS, SUID, and overall infant mortality. It is known that bedsharing is associated with increased exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding. Research confirms that at least 2/3 to ¾ of breastfeeding mothers share a sleep surface with their infants at least part of the time, , whether through deliberate bedsharing or accidentally falling asleep during feeding times. Breastfed babies have the lowest rates of SIDS, SUID, and overall infant mortality. Yet state and federal ‘safe sleep’ campaigns warn against bedsharing, without describing ways to make accidental or planned shared sleep as safe as possible. Several studies have reported that “never bedshare” messages are often ignored or misinterpreted, potentially resulting in unsafe shared sleep on couches and other furniture not designed for sleep, increasing the risk of smothering, entrapment, and sudden, unexplained infant death. Safer bedsharing strategies have been suggested that may reduce the risk of bedsharing associated infant deaths. The National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep’s Strategic Action Plan established two strategies that were addressed in this presentation: “3.1: Equip infant caregivers with the skills and supports to reach their breastfeeding and safe sleep goals”, and “3.2: Provide access to best practice training and supports so that infant caregivers understand sleep/wake/feeding patterns in infancy and learn how best to comfort and settle their infants in ways that are consistent with safe sleep practices.”
    • Must be logged in to USBC website to access.

Presented by Lori Feldman-Winter, MD, MPH, Physician Lead & Cathy Carothers, IBCLC, Consultant

    • The implementation of TTT Safety Workshops for community and hospital leadership will ensure adoption of the Ten Steps and support for exclusive breastfeeding while decreasing risks for infant mortality and morbidity related to unsafe sleep, sentinel events related to falls, accidental suffocation and strangulation. CHAMPS faculty illustrated how a specific TTT curriculum has enabled continued breastfeeding support practices that are equitable and promote a safety culture. CHAMPS demonstrated through bridging communities with hospitals how maternity care practices can be implemented to reduce and eventually eliminate disparities. The culture of safety was a new initiative within CHAMPS that layers on previous work demonstrating success in achieving equity. 
    • Must be logged in to USBC website to access.

Presented by Suzanne Bronheim, & Megan Renner, National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep (NAPPSS) 

    • In this session, participants learned more about the work of the NAPPSS coalition to integrate breastfeeding and safe sleep through a Conversations Approach, and especially what this means for implementation at the state level. The speakers shared their experiences with engaging tables of both breastfeeding and safe sleep organization partners at the national level, including strategies for how to build and repair trust, and how to hold difficult conversations.
    • Must be logged in to USBC website to access.