Ashley County Medical Center was recently recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program as a “Silver Safe Sleep Leader,” for its commitment to best practices and education on infant safe sleep. It is one of the first hospitals in Arkansas to receive the title.

The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created by Cribs for Kids, a Pittsburgh-based organization dedicated to preventing infant, sleep-related deaths due to accidental suffocation.

In addition to being Cribs for Kids partners, Ashley County Medical Center was recognized for following the safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and providing training programs for parents, staff and the community.

“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 and medical director of research at Cribs for Kids. “We know that consistent education can have a profound effect on infant mortality, and this program is designed to encourage safe sleep education and to recognize those hospitals that are taking an active role in reducing these preventable deaths.”

This program is well-aligned with the Maternal Child Health Bureau’s vision of reducing infant mortality through the promotion of infant sleep safety as outlined in Infant Mortality CoIIN Initiative. Thirty-six states have designated SIDS/SUID/SRD as their emphasis to reduce infant mortality.

“Arkansas ranks in the top 10 states for highest SIDS/SUIDS rates,” said Amanda Autenreath, Ashley County Medical Center Nursery Manager. “When reviewing Arkansas infant death cases in 2015, 67 percent of them were found in an unsafe sleep environment, and 87 percent of the deaths were preventable. That is an astounding number of children’s lives that can be saved by changing their sleep environment, and educating their caretakers on what is safe and what is not. I am dedicated to helping the children, parents, and care givers of Ashley County to keep all of our children safe and healthy.”

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.

The program kicked off in June of 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of the Cribs for Kids national headquarters, according to Judith A. Bannon, executive director and founder of Cribs for Kids.

“Sixteen states and Quebec Canada are represented among the 38 certified hospitals which have achieved the ‘Gold Champion’ status, or are working their way toward it,” Bannon said. “This will have a profound effect on the number of babies’ lives that will be saved.”

More information on the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program.