This Side Up for Safe Sleeping

Gale Hewitt, RN (right), a nurse in the Union Hospital Maternity Center, shows Jodie and Casey Hay of Dover the proper position for their new son Laker to take his nap. Laker is wearing the “This Side Up” sleeper provided to newborns as part of the “Safe Sleep is Good4Baby” campaign sponsored by the Ohio Hospital Association.

Union Hospital is one of 107 hospitals in Ohio working to improve this state’s position as one of the lowest ranked in the nation for infant mortality rates. The Ohio Hospital Association says more than 150 infants die in Ohio each year from sleep-related causes including Sudden Infant Death syndrome, accidental suffocation, and undetermined causes. Donna Morgan, RN, manager of the UH Maternity and Pediatrics Units, says the hospital is joining the “Safe Sleep is Good4Baby” campaign to try and reduce sleep-related infant deaths.

“The method we are teaching new parents is to place their infant alone in a crib to sleep every time and always on the baby’s back,” Morgan said. “This face-up position has been found to be best for the baby and is safer than sleeping face down or having the baby in bed with the parent or another child.”

As part of the Safe Sleep campaign, the OHA has provided participating hospitals with sleepers for newborns with the words “This Side Up” printed on the front of the sleeper. Morgan says new parents will also receive the book, Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug by John Hutton, MD, a Cincinnati pediatrician.

“Ohio ranks 47 out of the 50 states for overall infant mortality,” Morgan added. “This is a poor record indeed and makes it very important that Ohio’s hospital maternity centers use their unique position to reach new parents with information about the importance of safe sleep.”

Morgan says the Ohio Hospital Association’s “Safe Sleep is Good4Baby” program has provided the sleepers for newborns in a quantity that will provide a sleeper for every newborn at Union Hospital for the next several months.

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