TriStar Ashland City Partners with Health Department to Reduce Infant Deaths
ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. (January 22, 2014) - TriStar Ashland City Medical Center has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Health in an effort to reduce infant mortality by creating a hospital safe sleep policy. One of the top priorities of the Tennessee Department of Health is to reduce the state’s infant mortality rate (a measure of how many babies die before reaching their first birthday). According to the Department of Health, 20 percent of all infant deaths in Tennessee are due to unsafe sleep practices.

“TriStar Ashland City is committed to improving community health and lowering our infant mortality rate,” said Darrell White, administrator & chief nursing officer for TriStar Ashland City. “Infants should sleep Alone, on their Back and in a Crib. It’s important that parents know these simple rules and share this information with others involved in their child’s care, including grandparents and other relatives.”
Studies have shown that parents observe doctors and nurses in hospitals and place their babies to sleep the same way they see their baby placed to sleep in the hospital. TriStar Ashland City’s new safe sleep policy will require staff members to implement safe sleep practices in the hospital. In addition, the policy will require all staff members that care for infants to undergo safe-sleep training annually.

Although SIDS numbers have decreased in Tennessee, other preventable sleep-related deaths are on the rise. Causes of other sleep-related deaths include suffocation, such as when an adult rolls over on an infant or an infant is smothered by pillows or blankets. In 2012, the infant mortality rate in Tennessee was 7.2, meaning that 7.2 babies out of every 1,000 born did not reach their first birthday. Infant mortality rates in Tennessee and the United States lag far behind many other countries, including less-developed countries.

Safe sleep practices can prevent sleep-related deaths. TriStar Ashland City promotes the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that infants should:
- Always be placed on their backs to sleep
- Sleep alone in a crib or bassinet, although the crib or bassinet can be in the same room as an adult caregiver
- Not have bumper pads, blankets, stuffed animals, toys or pets in their cribs
- Sleep on a firm crib mattress with the mattress covered only by a fitted sheet
“We’re committed to the health and safety of all patients and are excited to partner with the Tennessee Department of Health on this important initiative to reduce infant deaths,” said White.
For more information on sleep-related deaths, visit the Tennessee Department of Health website at http://safesleep.tn.gov.

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