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St. Luke recognized for infant safe sleep practices, education

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News from St. Luke Community Hospital

RONAN — St. Luke Community Hospital was recently recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program as a “Gold Safe Sleep Champion” for their commitment to best practices and education on infant safe sleep.  

The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created by Cribs for Kids, the only national infant safe sleep organization. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Cribs for Kids is dedicated to preventing infant sleep-related deaths due to accidental suffocation. As a Nationally Certified Safe Sleep Hospital, St. Luke is recognized for following the safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and providing training programs for healthcare team members and family caregivers.   

“Sleep-Related Death (SRD – which includes SIDs or Sudden Infant Deaths and SUIDs or Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths) results in the loss of more than 3,500 infants every year in the U.S.,” said Michael H. Goodstein, M.D., neonatologist 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. Cribs for Kids Hospital Certification Program is designed to recognize those hospitals that are taking an active role in reducing these preventable deaths.”   

“Montana has one of the highest average rates of SRDs,” states St. Luke OB Nurse, Casey Houk. “I feel it is my duty to my community to help educate families about this potential risk to their baby. The last thing any nurse wants to see is for a family to lose a child, especially over something that could have been prevented. Our OB team wants to set families up for success.” 

St. Luke OB Manager Tabitha Normandeau expands on Houk’s point. “More often than not, SRDs are preventable. By educating parents and caregivers, we can reduce SRDs in our community, we can help save lives. Achieving Gold status shows our community that we are deeply committed to and directly involved in this cause.” In addition to safe sleep education, St. Luke’s New Beginnings Birth Center sends a sleep sack and a Pack ‘n Play “cribette” home with every newborn, to help provide a safe sleep environment from day one.  

St. Luke’s OB staff see firsthand how critical this program is in our rural area, where safe sleep education isn’t as commonly known. “Tradition or information passed down from generation to generation is well intended, but can sometimes lead to unsafe sleep environments,” Normandeau explains. “With our Safe Sleep program, St. Luke’s goal is establish new traditions, built around a culture of safe sleep.” 

The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created in partnership with leading infant health and safety organizations such as All Baby & Child, The National Center for the Review & Prevention of Child Deaths, Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs, Kids in Danger, Children’s Safety Network, American SIDS Institute, Charlie’s Kids, CJ Foundation for SIDS, and numerous state American Academy of Pediatric chapters and health departments. 

According to Judith A. Bannon, Executive Director and Founder for Cribs for Kids, “The certification program launched in 2015 in Pittsburgh, PA, home of the Cribs for Kids national headquarters. Hundreds of hospitals across the US are certified. We welcome St. Luke to this expanding group of committed hospitals. This will have a profound effect on the saving babies’ lives.” 

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