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Arkansas Department of Health Recognizes Mena Regional Health System for its Work to Become Safe Sleep Certified

Mena, Ark.- Mena Regional Health System has achieved Bronze Certification from the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program.

Hospitals that are Silver Certified are considered to be Certified Safe Sleep Leaders.   As Safe Sleep Leaders, they: 1) Provide Safe Sleep training and education to hospital staff and parents; 2) Model Safe Sleep practices using the ABC’s (Alone, on their Back, in a Crib); and 3) Have implemented a Safe Sleep policy.

“At MRHS, we are diligent about educating our families regarding the health and safety of their new baby. We know that education is the key to the prevention of many SIDS related deaths.  Our goal is to provide them with the latest safety guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics.” Jay Quebedeaux, MRHS CEO.

Each year in the United States, there are 3,500 Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths.  In Arkansas, about 60 infants die each year.  Some of these deaths are a result of unsafe sleep practices.

“Since awareness campaigns that stressed back sleeping for babies started in 1994, the SIDS rate in the United States has dropped by 50 percent,” said Dr. Nate Smith, MD, MPH, Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) Director of State Health Officer. “The ADH and Mena Regional Health System are building on this momentum to train caregivers to use the safest possible sleep practices.  Becoming Safe Sleep Certified means this hospital is demonstrating that it is committed to being a community leader and is proactively eliminating as many sleep-related deaths as possible.”

“More babies die in Arkansas before their first birthday than in the nation as a whole,” said Mary Aitken, MD, MPH, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Center for Applied Research and Evaluation.  “Too many of these deaths occur in unsafe sleep environments, and we know how to prevent many of those deaths.  National, state, and local groups are working hard to educate parents about safe sleep and warn them about the dangers of infants sleeping in adult beds, on couches, or in cribs filled with blankets and pillows.”

Through the Crib For Kids program, 600 communities across the U.S. have implemented Safe Sleep programs.  The Cribs For Kids program follows the infant Safe Sleep and safety recommendations set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Guidelines include:

1)  Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.

2)  Always use a firm sleep surface.  Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended

for routine sleep.

3)  The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed.

4)  Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib, including pillows, blankets, and bumper

pads.

5)  Do not use wedges or positioners.

6)  Do offer a pacifier at naptime and bedtime.

7)  Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.

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