17:04 PM

St. Vincent Healthcare Promotes Safe Sleep Environments for Infants

GettyImages-1198320942 (1)


According to the CDC, there are nearly 3,400 sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) in the United States every year, usually occurring in infants less than a year old. In 2020, there were about 1,389 deaths due to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), about 1,062 deaths due to unknown causes, and about 905 deaths due to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed. According to the CDC, Montana ranks 41 out of 51 in sudden unexpected infant death rates (132.3 per 100,000 live births).

To help families in Montana keep their little ones in the safest environment possible, St. Vincent Healthcare, now part of Intermountain Healthcare, provides education and resources as the first hospital in Billings to be recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program as a “Gold Recipient,” for a commitment to reducing infant, sleep-related deaths by promoting and educating on best safe sleep practices. St. Vincent caregivers shared tips for new families on creating a safe sleep environment with NonStop Local News. Watch the story below. 

Safe Sleep

St. Vincent’s Mother & Newborn, NICU and Pediatric teams are dedicated to doing all they can to reduce infant mortality rates and take great pride in educating each family in their care about the importance of a safe sleep environment for their new baby. Additionally, all families are provided with a safe wearable blanket for their child before they leave the hospital. For families that may not have a safe sleep environment for their child, thanks to a generous donation from the St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation, portable cribs are provided to ensure that all families have a safe sleeping environment for their infants from the day they arrive home from the hospital.

During October, SIDS Awareness Month, St. Vincent wanted to share important Safe Sleep Tips that families should follow every day to keep their infant safe and healthy:

TIP #1: Always place baby alone, on his or her back, in a crib for EVERY sleep time.

TIP #2: Use a firm and flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet with no other bedding or soft items in the sleep area.

TIP #3: Dress your baby in a wearable blanket for sleeping. Do not put soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, or loose bedding under baby, over baby, or anywhere in baby ’s sleep area.

TIP #4: Share your room with baby, but don’t share a bed. Keep baby in your room close to your bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants, ideally for baby’s first year, but at least for the first 6 months.

TIP #5: There should be no smoking near pregnant women or infants. Set strict rules for smoke free homes and cars. Eliminate second-hand tobacco smoke from all places in which children and other nonsmokers spend time.

TIP #6: Avoid products that go against safe sleep recommendations, especially those that claim to prevent or reduce the risk for SIDS.

TIP #7: Don’t overheat or overdress your baby. Dress your baby in light sleep clothing. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult (between 68-72 degrees F).

TIP #8: Breastfeed your baby to reduce the risk of SIDS. Breastfeeding has many health benefits for mother and baby. If you fall asleep while feeding or comforting baby in an adult bed, place him or her back in a separate sleep area as soon as you wake up.

TIP #9: Follow guidance from your health care provider on your baby’s vaccines and regular health checkups.

TIP#10: Give your baby plenty of tummy time when he or she is awake and someone is watching.

(Source: https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov)