Section: Children's Hospital of New Jersey (NBI) News

Safe Sleep Practices and Crib Safety Guidelines for NJ’s Tiniest Patients at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center


Mateo Rios Family

Mateo Rios Family demonstrating Safe Sleep Practices in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.

NEWARK, NJ (April 30, 2014) Each year in the United States, about 4,000 infants die suddenly of no immediate, obvious cause. About one half of these Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) are due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of SUID and of all deaths among infants aged 1–12 months. To combat these devastating statistics, Children's Hospital of New Jersey (CHoNJ) at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center has augmented its safe sleep practices in the nurseries. In addition to positioning all sleeping babies on their backs, all CHoNJ well newborns and growing preemies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are placed in comfortable, wearable sleep sacks.

On admission into the unit after their birthing experience, parents are informed about the use of the sleep sack. "The sleep sacks are a safer alternative to loose fitting receiving blankets," states Maryellen Wiggins MSN, RN, ACRN, NE-BC, Assistant Vice President, Patient Care Services at CHoNJ, "they provide neonatal nurses an opportunity to demonstrate safe sleep recommendations to the families." They receive Safe Sleep Tips and Crib Safety Guidelines, based on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations, and are encouraged to share these tips with everyone who will care for their infant after discharge.

The three most frequently reported causes are SIDS, cause unknown and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed. In 2010, 2,063 deaths were reported as SIDS, 918 as cause unknown, and 629 as accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed. The AAP expanded recommendations from focusing not only on SIDS but also focusing on a safe sleep environment to reduce the risk of all sleep-related infant deaths, including SIDS.

Some of the safe sleep tips include:

  • Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.
  • Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats or other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
  • The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
  • Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
  • Wedges and positioners should not be used.
  • Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep
  • Never allow anyone to smoke around your baby.

CHoNJ continues to make a difference touching the lives of those most in need in New Jersey developing, implementing and maintaining quality healthcare for our patients.

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, (NBIMC), a 673-bed regional care teaching hospital with more than 800 physicians, 3,000 employees and 100 volunteers with over 300,000 outpatient visits and 25,000 admissions annually. NBIMC is in the top three hospitals in the nation in the number of heart transplants with better than expected outcomes, has the only lung transplant program in New Jersey, and combined with Saint Barnabas Medical Center, both Barnabas Health affiliates, is third in the nation for kidney transplants, by volume.

Children's Hospital of New Jersey
Children's Hospital of New Jersey, located at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, is the state's premier hospital caring for children, with specialized services to treat ill and injured children from newborn to adolescent years and has the most comprehensive pediatric cardiac care program in the region as well as preventive programs that promote wellness in the community. To learn more, visit us on line at

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Contact: Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

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