An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : News
NEWS | March 4, 2016

National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program recognizes SAMMC

BAMC Public Affairs

San Antonio Military Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston was recently recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program as a “Silver Certified Sleep Leader,” for its commitment to best practices and education on infant safe sleep. SAMMC is the first hospital in Texas to receive this recognition.

“While the title of first hospital in Texas to receive certification is exciting, we just hope it symbolizes the role San Antonio Military Medical Center and our joint pediatric clinics in San Antonio play as a leader in reducing sudden unexpected infant deaths, or SUIDs,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Nicholas Carr, SAMMC staff neonatologist. “Our patients deserve to know that our providers and nurses are doing everything they can to improve the safety of our future service members and providing safe home sleeping environments for all infants.”

According to the Texas Department of Family Protective services, every two days a baby dies in the state, increasing annually since 2013. In Bexar County, there has been a 40 percent increase in SUIDs since 2012, mostly attributed to bed-sharing and unsafe sleeping home environments.

“Overall, our community has been very receptive to our interventions and our mission,” Carr said. “Unfortunately, SIDS and SUIDs has touched too many families in both the medical and Bexar County community. We frequently hear stories from people who volunteer and champion our message that have either lost or know someone who has experienced an unexpected loss.

“In addition, we want to thank the Wilford Hall Auxiliary for their generous support and funding to help provide Halo sleep sacks for every infant discharged from SAMMC newborn and NICU service. This gift provides both education and a lasting message to our families well after they go home.”

The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created by Cribs for Kids®, a Pittsburgh-based organization dedicated to preventing infant sleep-related deaths due to accidental suffocation. In addition to being Cribs for Kids® partners, SAMMC was recognized for following the safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and providing training programs for parents, staff and the community.

Community outreach includes supporting local fundraisers for SIDS nonprofit organizations, donations of safe sleeping materials to underserved families, and a large scale media campaign to bring awareness to Bexar County and Texas about infant losses.

SAMMC is one of six large medical centers in San Antonio that comprise the Bexar County SUID Coalition. The coalition includes leaders and programs from Baptist Health System, Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, Methodist Children’s Hospital, Southwest General Hospital, and University Health System.

“The Coalition, along with the Bexar County Child Fatality Review Team, has been instrumental in providing changes to hospital and clinic practices, improving public awareness through media campaigns, and fundraising to improve care and provide safe sleep resources for less fortunate families,” Carr said.

“Sleep-Related Death, or SRD, results in the loss of more than 3,500 infants every year in the U.S.,” said Michael H. Goodstein, M.D., neonatologist and medical director of research at Cribs for Kids®.

“We know that consistent education can have a profound effect on infant mortality, and this program is designed to encourage safe sleep education and to recognize those hospitals that are taking an active role in reducing these preventable deaths.”

This program is well-aligned with the Maternal Child Health Bureau’s vision of reducing infant mortality through the promotion of infant sleep safety as outlined in the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality. Thirty-six states have designated SIDS/SUID/SRD as their emphasis to reduce infant mortality.

Hospitals can earn one of three National Safe Sleep Certifications based on their levels of commitment; bronze, silver or gold. According to Carr, SAMMC would love to attain gold certification. They are currently meeting all other requirements to attain gold and are striving to provide the top-level care consistent with all other safe sleep champions at that level.

The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created in partnership with leading infant health and safety organizations such as All Baby & Child, The National Center for the Review & Prevention of Child Deaths, Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs, Kids In Danger, Children’s Safety Network, American SIDS Institute, Charlie’s Kids, CJ Foundation for SIDS and numerous state American Academy of Pediatric chapters and health departments.

“The program kicked off in June of 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, PA. home of the Cribs for Kids® national headquarters,” said Jonathan Bannon, Cribs for Kids founder and executive director. sSixteen states and Quebec, Canada, are represented among the 38 certified hospitals which have achieved the ‘Gold Champion’ status, or are working their way toward it. This will have a profound effect on the number of babies’ lives that will be saved.”

For more information on the Cribs for Kids® National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program, visit certification.