Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston has achieved gold-level Safe Sleep Certification with the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program, officials announce.
Working with The Community Partnership in Rolla, TCMH completed training and necessary steps to earn the status, demonstrating the organization’s commitment to best practices and education in infant safe sleep. The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created by Cribs for Kids, an organization dedicated to preventing sleep-related Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and accidental suffocation in infants.
“Sleep-related death results in the loss of more than 3,500 infants yearly in the U.S. We know that modeling safe infant sleep in the hospital and educating families significantly affects infant mortality,” said Dr. Michael H. Goodstein, neonatologist and medical director of research at Cribs for Kids. “Cribs for Kids Hospital Certification Program is designed to recognize hospitals actively reducing these preventable deaths.”
According to Jennifer Terrill, TCMH obstetrics director, Texas County has one of the highest rates of sudden infant death syndrome in Missouri.
“The infant mortality rate was 10.25 deaths per thousand in Texas County and 9.99 deaths per thousand in Wright County from 2009 to 2019. Our hospital is leading the charge to change that statistic, and we are calling on community members to support our efforts moving forward,” she said.
According to Susie Baldwin, Safe Sleep coordinator with The Community Partnership, conversations in Texas County have revealed some misinformation about infant safe sleep. “Many families pass down cribs from one generation to another or place infants in drawers to sleep,” she said. “But these practices can be hazardous. Understanding and practicing infant-safe sleep must become the norm in our communities. Our goal is for every baby to have a safe place to sleep.”
Baldwin, who worked with TCMH to achieve the gold-level certification, explained that safe sleep cribs have been available free of charge to families who could otherwise not afford a safe place for their babies to sleep. Cribs, safe-sleep sacks and educational board books are provided through The Community Partnership’s Safe Sleep program in conjunction with the Missouri Children’s Trust Fund.
“No one needs to be concerned to reveal that they don’t have a safe place for their infant to sleep,” Baldwin says. “Until grant funds run out, safe-sleep cribs are available to parents and caregivers in need who are willing to answer a few questions and complete a short series of videos.”
As a nationally-certified Safe Sleep Hospital, TCMH is recognized for following the safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and for training healthcare team members, parents and infant caregivers on safe sleep best practices.
“We welcome Texas County Memorial Hospital as one of the few independent, rural hospitals to achieve gold certification in the United States this fall,” said Judith A. Bannon, CEO and founder of Cribs for Kids. “This will have a profound effect on saving babies’ lives.”
For more information about Cribs for Kids’ National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program, visit cribsforkids.org/hospitalcertification.