Partnership with 5 hospitals will equip new parents with expert advice, prevention tips, and gear for safe infant sleep
ITASCA, IL (Nov. 10, 2021) – The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an organization dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults, announced a new collaboration to provide parents and families in under-resourced communities with information and important baby gear to help keep infants safe while they sleep.
The AAP has selected five hospitals as the recipients of the inaugural Community Partnership Approaches for Safe Sleep (CPASS) initiative. They include: Rush Children’s Hospital in Chicago; Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham; Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester, N.Y.; OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Ore.; and Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. All five hospitals have existing injury prevention programs affiliated with the Injury-Free Coalition for Kids and engage local community-based organizations that serve expectant mothers and families.
The new initiative will be led by pediatric care experts from the AAP who will work with hospital networks and community-based organizations to create impactful, culturally sensitive material that educates caregivers about creating a safe sleep environment.
“Being a parent of a new baby is a wonderful experience, but it can also be overwhelming to parents who are trying to help their baby to sleep. Equipping parents with practical strategies to help their babies sleep safely, as well as offering cribs and other safe sleep products, is an innovative way to connect with parents at this critical stage for their family, and we’re pleased to team up with Amazon on this initiative,” said Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP.
AAP has partnered with Amazon on a multi-year commitment to support this new initiative.
“Helping new parents gain the knowledge and knowhow they need to help adopt safe sleeping habits is a cause Amazon deeply believes in,” said Mark Fellin, Amazon’s Head of Product Trust & Regulatory Compliance. “We are thrilled to work with the AAP to create an educational campaign that can be accessed remotely by all caregivers and help raise awareness of a safe sleep environment.”
The programming will focus on families in traditionally under-resourced communities. Studies show that sleep-related deaths have notable racial and ethnic disparities, with non-Hispanic Blacks and American Indian and Alaskan Native infants experiencing sleep-related deaths at a rate two times that of non-Hispanic white infants. Overall, poverty is associated with a disproportionately high risk of suffocation-related deaths, as lack of an appropriate sleep space often leads to bed sharing, which is a leading cause of infant suffocation.
Together, hospitals and community organizations will develop parent education resources and strategies that are culturally and linguistically appropriate for each community and will also include significant input from community representatives.
“There are few things we can say are 100% preventable. Infant deaths from unsafe sleeping conditions is one such thing. Parents need to know that products advertised for babies are actually safe for babies and that is why this initiative is critical for the safety of infants everywhere,” said Elizabeth Murray, DO, MBA, FAAP, Faculty Director, Child Health & Safety Communication at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester, N.Y.
“While significant strides are being made in safe sleep, there is much more we can do as partners to reduce the rates of infant mortality and SUIDs. The work to provide safe sleep and safety resources to underserved, rural Arkansas communities to close the gap in preventable sleep deaths will be more powerful and relevant because of what we will learn by being a part of CPASS. We look forward to helping more babies sleep safely because of this work as a team and through community partners,” said Marisha DiCarlo, Vice President of Community Engagement and Advocacy for Arkansas Children’s.
“As pediatricians, we all want to make a difference in the lives of children and families in our community, and we know that preventing injury and illness is an important method to accomplish this. One of the top three causes of death in infants in Alabama every year is sleep-related death. We welcome this opportunity to work with the AAP and Amazon along with community partners in Birmingham to help prevent sleep-related deaths in our urban community. This cooperative program sharing expert advice regarding safe sleep practices and providing safe sleep gear will help families rest more comfortably knowing their infants are sleeping safely,” said Jennifer McCain, MD, FAAP, assistant professor of pediatric emergency medicine at Children’s of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
“Oregon currently has higher rates of SUID than its surrounding states, and the rate of accidental suffocation deaths for infants is 50% higher than that of the U.S overall, and it is increasing. In the past several years, we have seen the unfortunate consequences of products that are marketed and purported to be safe for infant sleep, but run contrary to AAP safe sleep guidelines. We know that parents and caregivers want to do what is best for their children, and the ability to expand education and support for these families is imperative to help them meet their goals and avoid preventable injury and death,” said Ben Hoffman, MD, CPST-I, FAAP, professor of pediatrics at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, and medical director of the OHSU Doernbecher Injury Prevention Program.
“SUID has remained a leading cause of death for infants in our community and opportunities like CPASS enable partnerships with community-based organizations like Family Focus to collaborate around a shared goal – supporting families and preventing SUID. While we work closely with families with newborns, we don’t always have the insights that they — and those who support them — do. It is our hope that this partnership unlocks pathways to think about SUID and prevention strategies in a family and community centered way,” said Gina Lowell, MD, FAAP, director of community health for pediatrics, Rush University Medical Center.
Through the program, hospitals will partner with community-based organizations to offer educational programs on safe infant sleep for new parents. Parents who participate in the program will receive cribs, bedding and other gear that is approved for safe infant sleep.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.