WellSpan Health: National infant sleep safety award

The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program has recognized Chambersburg and Ephrata community hospitals as certified safe sleep facilities. The hospitals were recognized for their commitment to best practices and education on infant safe sleep. 

These hospitals join all other WellSpan hospitals with labor and delivery services as holding this ‘best practice’ designation.  

“Sleep-related death results in the loss of more than 3,500 infants every year in the U.S.,” said Michael H. Goodstein, M.D., neonatologist at WellSpan York Hospital and medical director of research at Cribs for Kids. “We know that modeling safe infant sleep in the hospital and providing education to families has a significant effect on infant mortality.”     

As a nationally certified Safe Sleep Hospital, the hospitals follow the safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They also provide training programs for healthcare team members and family caregivers. 

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Promoting safe infant sleep

Each hospital has trained maternity staff on patient education regarding safe newborn sleep.  The hospitals teach parents the following:

  • About the importance of the ABC’s of safe sleep; 
  • About not smoking;
  • Using a firm flat mattress;
  • Breastfeeding;
  • And other safe sleep practices.

The staff then asks new moms to sign a “safe sleep pledge.”     

The hospitals also give all new babies a sleeping sack for use instead of a blanket; and they donate a portable crib to parents who do not have a crib at their home.   These efforts help families follow safe sleep practices at home.

“We want to send new families into the community with the very best tools to raise a healthy baby,” said Dr. Goodstein. “Safe sleep practices are vitally important. Always remember the ABCs of safe sleep: Place babies alone, on their back, in an uncluttered crib.”       

Cribs for Kids created the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program in partnership with leading infant health and safety organizations.   For more on safe sleep and maternity care at WellSpan, visit WellSpan.org/Maternity.