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Louisiana Took Action to Promote Safe Sleep during SIDS Awareness Month

December, 02, 2016

October was SIDS Awareness month, and the Bureau of Family Health’s Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Coordinators used the month as an opportunity to support and promote safe infant sleeping across the state.

MCH coordinators worked with local partners to organize activities to increase awareness of safe sleeping practices; provide safe infant sleeping education to providers; help parents implement safe sleep at home; and further our understanding of sleep-related infant deaths and how to prevent them.

For more information and resources related to safe infant sleeping, visit GiveYourBabySpace.com.

Activity highlights by region:

Region 3: Houma/Thibodeaux Area

  • Louise Karisny, RN, Regional Nurse Manager and a safe sleep champion, inspired staff within the Lafourche, St. Mary and Terrebonne Parish Health Units to model safe sleep practices using visual aids and demonstrations.
  • Terrebonne General Medical Center produced a SIDS Awareness segment on their series “TGMC To Your Health.” It aired locally throughout October.

Region 4: Greater Lafayette Area

  • Women’s and Children’s Hospital added safe sleep information to its online health library, and Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC) featured SIDS and safe sleeping on its parenting blog. LGMC also included extra safe infant sleeping education material in discharge instructions for all babies discharged during October.
  • Dr. Scott Hamilton, an emergency department pediatric physician at LGMC, wrote a two part article on SIDS and safe sleep education in the Sunday edition of The Advertiser.
  • MCH Coordinator Christine Cornell shared the Bureau of Family Health’s Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) data with key contacts at several delivering hospitals. The Education Coordinator at Opelousas General Health System will also share this information with the obstetricians and pediatricians affiliated with the hospital.

Region 5: Greater Lake Charles Area

  • The Southwest Louisiana Safe Sleep Task Force, with help from Charlie's Kids Foundation, organized the second annual Stroll & Roll Event. The event and benefit is held in memory of Kaden Reed, who tragically lost his life due to an unsafe sleep environment. As a result of the benefit, 120 books, pack n' play portable cribs and other safe sleep materials were donated to major birthing hospitals. The task force also worked with Allen Parish Hospital to host a community event for safe sleep awareness.
  • Education on safe sleep, car seat safety and SUID investigations was provided to 19 McNeese State University nursing students and two instructors.
  • Updated print materials on safe infant sleeping were given to all Region 5 Parish Health Units for use with their clients.

Region 6: Greater Alexandria Area

  • A video public service announcement (PSA) on safe infant sleeping was developed Dr. Jonathan Hunter, of the Rapides Parish Coroner’s Office, with help from MCH Coordinator Lisa Norman and the Bureau of Family Health’s Communication, Innovation and Action Team. The PSA is expected to air on public television at least once a day for a year.
  • Rapides Regional Medical Center recently underwent an accreditation survey by the Joint Commission and received praise for their safe sleep practices. These practices were a result of a collaboration with their local Kiwanis Club chapter, which was facilitated by the Region 6 MCH Coordinators. Kiwanis Club provided funds for Rapides Regional to set up safe infant sleeping displays using cribs, pack n’ plays, and dolls in the lobby and nursery of their Rapides Regional’s Women’s Center. The displays were paired safe sleep information. The Joint Commission identified this as a best practice in their survey, and intend to share it with other hospitals.
  • Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program staff were trained by the Region 6 MCH Coordinators on safe infant sleeping. 
  • Amerigroup sponsored a community baby shower focused on safe infant sleeping.
  • Healing Hearts Perinatal Loss Support Group sponsored an event for families who suffered the loss of an infant. Families were invited to participate in a “Walk to Remember” at the Alexandria Zoo.

Region 7: Greater Shreveport Area

  • The Region 7 Community Action Team distributed 25 safe sleep posters to the region’s Public Health Clinics, area hospitals, two universities and a variety of non-profits. The team asked participating locations to set up safe sleep demonstration areas including pack n’ plays with a baby dolls wearing a safe sleep onesies. Baby dolls and pack n’ plays were loaned or given as needed.
  • A letter soliciting pack n’ plays or other donations went out to Child Death Review Team membership and many houses of faith in the Shreveport-Bossier area. $600 in donations were received and 14 pack n’ plays were purchased. Some will be used for displays while others will be distributed to families in need. These efforts were highlighted in a Shreveport Times article.
  • In order to gauge public awareness of safe infant sleeping, surveys were administered to new or expecting parents. Five $20 Walmart gift cards from an anonymous donor were used as incentives for completing the surveys.
  • MCH Coordinator Shelley Ryan Gray coordinated a safe sleep environment demonstration at a Super Safety Saturday community event.

Region 8: Greater Monroe Area

  • Region 8 MIECHV program staff participated in a community health fair and demonstrated safe infant sleeping practices using baby dolls. They also distributed printed information on safe sleep.
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