Nursing & Health Sciences Research Journal


Background: Sleep-related sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) is an alarming, potentially preventable event with over 3,500 annual occurrences in the United States (US). In response to sleep-related SUIDs, the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Institutes of Health advocate for safe sleep practices to promote establishment of safe sleep environments for infants through the Safe to Sleep initiative. However, research evidence shows that lack of knowledge in hospital staff and community members (parents/caregivers) and cultural barriers/biases are factors associated with the inability or resistance to adopting safe sleep practices for infants.

Methods: In 2017, internal evidence within a local South Florida hospital emergency department (ED) revealed eight sleep-related SUID cases. A Sleep Safe Task Force was initiated followed by implementation of a quality improvement project using the Plan-Do-Check-Act model. The purpose of the project was to improve knowledge through education on safe sleep practices among hospital staff and parents/caregivers of infants within the community to decrease the number of infant sleep-related deaths presenting to the ED. The implementation plan included education for hospital staff, community members, and local pediatric/obstetric office staff, coupled with distribution of sleep sacks to parents/caregivers.

Results: Post-implementation of education sessions, SUID cases presenting to the ED decreased by 50% (n = 4) in 2018, with zero cases in 2019 and 2020, one case in 2021, and zero in 2022. Conclusions: The results of the project suggested that providing education and safe sleep resources helped reduce the rate of SUID cases. Further studies are needed to evaluate efficacy of the education in community members by examining adoption of safe sleep practices for infants.

Keywords: SIDS, SUIDS, safe sleep, Safe Sleep Task Force, crib death, newborn safe sleep, sleep sacks

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