A First Response to Safe Sleep Habits

Posted May 06, 2015 by Wendy Loveland

Nancy Maruyama Teaching A Class
Nancy Maruyama teaches a sensitivity training for law enforcement departments in Illinois.

This is one of a series of stories this month about NICHQ's infant health work, which is being featured in in The Huffington Post's 'The Next 10' Campaign. Learn more about this awareness and fundraising campaign and how you can donate.

Thousands of infants die each year in unsafe sleep conditions. Sadly, the majority of sleep-related deaths are preventable. One innovative and successful approach to reduce these tragedies is to train law enforcement, fire rescue squads and other first responders to educate families about safe sleep habits.

“We have access to homes that no one else has,” says Lieutenant James Carroll of the Fort Lauderdale Fire and Rescue Department in Florida. “When people call 911, they are asking for our help. Social workers cannot just walk into peoples’ homes. We have an opportunity to look for safe sleep risks and save lives.”

Concerned for the growing number of sleep-related deaths reported in Broward County, Fla., Carroll, in conjunction with Jennifer Combs of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward Inc., created in 2012 the Direct On-Scene Education (D.O.S.E) program for first responders. When responding to an emergency or non-emergency call from a household with a pregnant woman or infant, and after attending to the patient, first responders are trained to do four things:
  1. Look for possible unsafe sleep conditions
  2. Remove any hazards in the crib such as blankets, pillows, bumpers and stuffed animals 
  3. Talk to families about safe sleep habits
  4. Offer a safe sleep kit with educational information about safe sleep habits
Their efforts are working. In 2011, more than seven babies died in Fort Lauderdale due to accidental suffocation or strangulation while sleeping. In 2012 and 2013, this number decreased to three, and in 2014 to one. More than 600 kits were given out in 2013 alone.

“Each safe sleep kit is an opportunity to save a life,” says Carroll. “We want to get the number of deaths to zero.”

The concept of training first responders is spreading across the nation. SIDS of Illinois, Inc., goes beyond training on safe sleep practices to sensitivity training about sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Executive Director of SIDS of Illinois, Inc., Nancy Maruyama, RN, BSN, heard many families say they were often accused of harming their child before the investigation into the baby’s death was complete. Through the organization, Maruyama began a sensitivity training for law enforcement departments. The trainings stress the following:
  • It is important to use gentle, layperson language. Using jargon such as “collecting evidence” can feel impersonal and blaming to the family.
  • Many mothers may act guilty when they are not. 
“As a mother, your job is to keep your baby safe. When that doesn’t happen, many mothers blame themselves, even if it wasn’t their fault. It is important for law enforcement to understand this,” says Maruyama. She lost her son, Brendan, to SIDS in 1985.

To get her program started, Maruyama reached out to the training departments of the local police, fire rescue, child abuse investigators, medical examiners and coroners. These trainings often affect the attendees personally.

“I heard one cop call home and say ‘Get those bumpers out of the crib right now.’ Ten minutes can save a life,” says Maruyama.

To start a safe sleep training program for first responders in your state, Maruyama and Carroll suggest the following:
  • Look at hospitals’ pediatric codes (available from the local health department) and find out where the most deaths are occurring. Then target the organizations that serve that area.
  • Write out a training plan. It is important that the same training approach be used across the agencies. 
  • Reach out to fire rescue chiefs, police chiefs, EMS chiefs, hospitals, public health departments, WIC clinics and non-profit organizations that deal with pediatric issues. Many have training departments. Show them the death rates and your training plan. Suggest ways that training can easily become part of their schedule.
  • Conduct train-the-trainer sessions as well as staff trainings. 
  • Speak at and attend relevant conferences.
In addition to her work with SIDS of Illinois, Maruyama is a co-leader for the Illinois safe sleep team in the NICHQ-led Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (IM CoIIN). IM CoIIN is a federally funded, multiyear national movement engaging federal, state and local leaders, public and private agencies, professionals and communities to employ quality improvement, innovation and collaborative learning to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes. Improving safe sleep practices is one of the six strategies of the IM CoIIN.

“Many parents never think it will happen to them. They need to hear the message more than once,” says Maruyama. “First responders are in a unique position to spread the message and save babies’ lives.”

  

Learn more about NICHQ's Infant Health work.

 


Share:

Add your comment

 
 

 

Archive

Tagcloud

QI quality improvement sustainabilty im coiin nichq preterm birth Baby-Friendly breastfeeding Pediatric journal Best Fed Beginnings infant health safe sleep tips PDSA cycle baby box infant mortality family engagement eccs coiin immunizations health equity health disparities accreditation astho onboarding collaboration engagement partnerships larc nashp new york wic new york state hospitals mom mother partners epilepsy data AAP early childhood pdsas texas community support learning session children's health new technology engineering transgender collaborative learning planning PDSA planning paralysis underplanning analysis paralysis vision eye health smoking smoke-free housing second-hand smoke toolkit e-module dental care oral health underserved populations health inequity public health Maternal and Child Health Journal leadership engagement Sickle cell disease indiana SCD medicaid perinatal regionalization sudden infant death syndrome national birth defects prevention month birth defects pregnancy planning one key question prepregnancy health preconception health public breastfeeding support families patients experts insights CHOPT childhood obesity innovation food desert telemedicine TBLC breastfeeding supporting prematurity racial disparities audiology ehdi follow-up illinois talana hughes vulnerable populations sports asthma soccer basketball obesity football SIDS Pokemon Go gamification smartphones interconception care birth spacing issue brief contraceptive use postpartum care CoIN HRSA early childhood trauma NHSA community health consumer advocacy womens health interconception health teenage health PATCH wisconsin missouri risk appropriate care community health workers SCD< infographic infant mortality awareness month inspirations childrens health national breastfeeding month maternal health patient engagement hearing loss hearing treatment pediatric vision vision screening eyesight pre-term birth early-term birth SCD clinic los angeles LOCATe CDC levels of care neonatal care maternal care smoking cessation project safe sleep practices neonatal abstinence syndrome NAS opioids maternal and child health MCH Family voices quality care mental health hydroxyurea SCDTDP men dads testing change data sharing state government city government apps sleep AJPM preconception care senior leadership breastfeeding support video series access BQIH exclusive breastfeeding long-acting reversible contraception unplanned pregnancies social determinants of health health innovations Best Babies Zone CoIIN baby boxes Rhode Island progesterone rooming-in parent partner patient and family engagement healthy weight healthy lifestyles primary care telementoring ECHO video conferencing socioemotional health childhood development pediatric Tennessee interview National Coordinating and Evaluation Center medical-legal partnerships mobile app disparities perinatal care overweight obese healthy weight clinic wellness pilot sites data collection education resources paternal engagement risk-appropriate care preterm infants high-risk babies Ten Steps public relations social movement reversible contraceptives medical home pediatric medical home patient transformation facilitator PTF skin-to-skin rooming in prenatal smoking information visualization charts SUID postpartum new mother webinar AMCHP QI Tips ongoing improvement fourth trimester partnership quality and safety coaching leadership support year end holiday message reflections gratitute Medicaid data doctor relationship PQC perinatal quality collaboratives vision care vision health evidence-based guidelines ASH health and wellness healthy living healthy eating home visitors home visiting programs March of Dimes APHA results evaluation supplementation formula reduction video infant loss social media advocacy leadership Berns Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding sustainability stress prenatal care data capacity epidemiologists surveillance data PFAC community partners preconception and interconception care motivational interviewing Native Americans ADHD NICHQ Vanderbilt Assessment Scale ADHD Toolkit system design care coordination skin to skin newborn screening reduce smoking aim statement safe birth Texas Ten Step skin-to-skin contact 10 Steps staff training small tests acute care mother-baby couplet collective impact population health preconception Newborn Screening Program substance abuse breast milk formula milk bank crisis first responders NYC improvement healthcare health system sickle cell diease treatment protocol family health partner maternity care Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network Health Outcomes Cross-Sector Collaboration Knowledge Sharing Child Health