Skip to main content

SGMC Participates in Safe to Sleep Initiative

Posted on: June 8th, 2016


Every week three infants in Georgia die due to sleep-related causes, many of which are preventable. Today, SGMC launched a Safe to Sleep initiative in partnership with the Georgia Children’s Cabinet and the Georgia Department of Public Health to prevent sleep-related infant deaths.

The goal of Georgia’s Safe to Sleep initiative is to educate mothers, fathers, grandparents and caregivers about the importance of putting babies to sleep following the ABCs of Safe Sleep as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “Last year, there were 2,074 babies delivered at SGMC. It’s crucial that parents and other caregivers know how to create a safe sleep environment for their baby before leaving the hospital,” said Tami Jackson, SGMC Chief Nursing Officer.

“SGMC already models safe sleep behaviors throughout our facility. However, this collaboration will provide additional resources to our patients and families.”Beginning today, every mother and newborn delivered at SGMC’s Birthplace will be given an infant gown with “This Side Up” messaging to reinforce the fact that babies sleep safest on their backs. They will also receive a Safe to Sleep book reminding all caregivers about the importance of safe sleep. Travel bassinets will be given to Medicaid and uninsured families that can be used for babies up to 15 pounds or four to six months old.

The bassinets can be used when a baby is sleeping away from their crib in another room in the home or when the baby is being cared for outside the home.“More than 60 percent of sleep-related infant deaths in 2014 occurred in an adult bed. That is nearly 100 preventable infant deaths,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Babies need a separate sleep space, not in an adult bed or in an arm chair or on a couch, and always on their backs.”Georgia has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country.

Sleep-related infant deaths occur suddenly, but according to AAP parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of these tragic deaths by following the ABCs of safe sleep. Alone – babies should sleep alone in their own sleep space, close to but separate from their caregiver. Back – babies should be placed on their back to sleep. Every nap. Every sleep. Every time. Crib – babies should sleep in a crib or bassinet with a firm, flat surface with no extra things such as crib bumpers, blankets or toys.

The Safe to Sleep initiative is a collaboration led by First Lady Sandra Deal, the Georgia Children’s Cabinet, the American Academy of Pediatrics – Georgia Chapter, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society. Additional Safe to Sleep information can be found at

SGMC Labor and Delivery Nurses Nicole Gonzalez, Jessica Cooper, and Angela Hughes showcase the gown and baby book that encourage placing babies on their back to sleep.