Hospitals Don't Always Model Safe Sleep For Babies, Study Finds

[photo: Ohio Department of Health]

by Sarah Jane Tribble

After asking doctors to check in on infants while they slept in the hospital, the Ohio chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that about 70 percent of babies were placed in cribs with loose blankets or medical supplies. 

Dr. Jamie Macklin, principal investigator on the study, says a safe sleep environment is when babies are placed alone, on their back, in an empty crib.  

"We know from studies that parents that see safe sleep behaviors modeled in the hospital will be more likely to follow those behaviors at home," Macklin says. 

In Cleveland, Dr. Erin Frank at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital says since the project began staff has paid more attention to what's in the cribs. 

"We knew that the babies were safe in our hospital setting, we do a lot more monitoring than any parent would ever do at home," Frank says. "So I just don't think it was at the forefront of everyone's mind how much this would affect the families when they were taking the babies home." 

Rainbow has switched from using loose blankets to sleep sacks that wrap tightly around the babies. 

The initial research began with six Ohio children's hospitals in 2014. More hospitals joined later and findings from the newer participants are expected to be released this year, Macklin says.


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