DuBois Regional Medical Center
For release: May 1, 2011

Fact: 90 percent of infants diagnosed with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, were found in an unsafe sleep environment.

Fact: Babies up to age one who seem apparently healthy can die of SIDS.

Fact: SIDS occurrences remain unexplainable even after a complete investigation.

These facts come from Cribs for Kids, a Pittsburgh-based program that promotes awareness of SIDS and serves as a resource center to provide safe-sleep educational materials, safety-approved cribs, crib sheets and sleep sacks.

Recently, DuBois Regional Medical Center has partnered with Cribs for Kids to make sleep environments safer for babies in our area.

With a grant from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Penn and Ronald McDonald House Charities national organization, DRMC is able to offer a free Graco Pack N Play crib, a fitted sheet and a Halo Sleep Sack to families who qualify. All of these items are purchased by DRMC through the grant at a special price through Cribs for Kids.

Pat Murphy, registered nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and an educator in the NICU Apnea/Reflux Center, has been a strong advocate of safe sleep for infants. She is overseeing the program for DRMC.

How does it work? All DRMC asks is that families who need assistance fill out a parent request letter/form and talk to Murphy.

In addition to receiving the items, all parents will get educational information about safe sleep for babies. The education is nothing to new to families at DRMC, but it is worth repeating. For the past two years, Murphy said, all families of infants have been receiving education on safe sleep before the infant is discharged home. In October, Gov. Ed Rendell signed into Pennsylvania law requires that all birthing hospitals and midwives educate new mothers about the importance of safe sleep practices.

This is the next step for DRMC to make a difference in the lives of babies, according to Murphy. “Our goal is to get the infant safe-sleep message into our communities so that not even one more infant ever dies from unsafe sleeping environment. Since 1998, all of the 6,500 babies participating in the Cribs for Kids campaign in Allegheny County celebrated first birthdays,” she said, and she wants all babies in this area to do the same.

Cribs are just one step in a safe-sleep environment. Though there is no way of predicting which newborn will succumb to SIDS, there are things parents should do to lower the risk of their children dying.

They include:
• Put your baby on his or her back to sleep.
• Be sure the baby is alone in the crib. There should be no pillows, bumper pads or toys.
• Be sure the crib has a firm mattress closely fitted to the sides of the crib. Be sure the sheet is tight fitting.
• Don’t overdress or over bundle your baby. Blanket sleepers or sleep sacks are recommended. If a blanket is needed, use a light cover like a receiving blanket tucked at the bottom and sides of the crib.
• Never let your baby fall asleep in a bed or chair with someone who is smoking or tired.
• The baby’s home and baby-sitter’s home should be smoke-free.
• Never let your baby sleep in an adult bed or on a couch.

For more information about the Cribs for Kids program or SIDS prevention, call Murphy at 375-6767.

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