Kentucky Advances Partnership to Promote Safe Infant Sleep

Identifying a Need for Safe Sleep Awareness

In Kentucky, despite widespread campaigns to increase adherence to the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep guidelines, there is evidence that unsafe sleep practices persist. Approximately 95% of sleep-related infant deaths in Kentucky’s SUID Case Registry have at least one unsafe sleep factor, such as blankets or pillows in the baby’s sleep area. Additionally, data from the Kentucky Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) survey show that more than 80% of mothers report putting their child to sleep in an unsafe environment at least some of the time. As defined in PRAMS, an unsafe sleep environment includes placing a baby to sleep:

  • On their side or stomach.
  • In a sleep area other than a crib, bassinet, or pack and play.
  • With soft objects or loose bedding, such as toys, bumper pads, pillows, or blankets.

Kentucky SUID Case Registry Partners With Home Visiting Program

Increasing the percentage of caregivers who report always placing the infant in a safe sleep environment is a national performance measure for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) grant. Therefore, ongoing progress in this priority area and data collection to track the progress through PRAMS are critical. To help achieve these goals, Kentucky’s SUID Case Registry staff engaged in a partnership with the Kentucky Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) home visiting program. HANDS is a natural partner to promote safe sleep messaging as staff observe infant sleep environments during home visits. They can provide caregivers with personalized feedback on how to create a safer sleep environment.

Home Visitors Educate Families on Safe Sleep

Kentucky SUID Case Registry staff share sleep-related infant death data with HANDS home visitors so they can understand how some infants in Kentucky are dying and the risk factors associated with their deaths. HANDS collaborates with the SUID Case Registry by:

  • Attending state child death review meetings.
  • Providing case information.
  • Sharing reported barriers by clients to practicing safe sleep.
  • Addressing systems-level processes, such as implementing new policies that affect client interactions.

HANDS home visitors educate families, identify challenges to practicing safe sleep, and provide resources to promote safe sleep. These resources include a bedtime storybook and a tummy time surface to teach caregivers to only place infants on their tummy during supervised playtime.

Caregivers Visited by HANDS Report Safe Sleep Practices

As a result of the Kentucky SUID Case Registry’s collaboration with HANDS, home visitors have a comprehensive understanding of the risk factors associated with sleep-related infant deaths in Kentucky and use this knowledge while working with families in their homes. According to HANDS data after a period of one year, almost 9 in 10 of caregivers reported always placing their infant in a safe sleep environment.

This success story reflects information as reported by the Kentucky SUID Case Registry.

Kentucky Success Story

SUID Kentucky Success Story - baby 9/10 are safe

After a partnership with a home visiting program, almost 9 in 10 caregivers reported always placing their baby in a safe sleep area.