OLEAN, NY -- Olean General Hospital was recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program as a Gold Safe Sleep Champion, the highest designation, for its commitment to best practices and education on infant safe sleep. OGH is one of five hospitals in the state to earn gold status.

The National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program was created by Cribs for Kids®, an organization dedicated to preventing infant sleep-related deaths. OGH and Southern Tier Health Care System, Inc. started a pilot program last year as part of the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program which worked to increase safe sleep practices.

The program includes staff education, the use of Halo SleepSacks®, which are a wearable-type of blanket, and patient education during childbirth education classes so that parents are familiar with the material before the baby’s arrival. Education starts a conversation with parents about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and safe sleep practices such as having babies sleep alone on their backs in a crib, with no loose blankets, clothes or stuffed animals, according to Rich Whitney, RN, obstetrics nurse manager, OGH. Olean General’s OB department started using Halo SleepSacks®  instead of traditional blankets which parents can then use at home. They replace loose blankets in the crib that could loosen and interfere with the baby’s breathing while also keeping the baby warm.

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“When we started this program, our goal was to promote safe sleep practices to new parents to keep infants healthy and safe,” Whitney said. “Our staff, and partners at Southern Tier Health Care System, really came together to help reduce sleep-related deaths and keep infants safer. We are proud to be Gold Safe Sleep Champions.”

STHCS President and CEO Donna Kahm congratulated OGH on achieving Gold Safe Sleep Champion certification, noting that the program has proven effective in convincing new parents to adopt infant safe sleep practices.

 

“Studies have shown repeatedly that parents follow the practices they see in hospital maternity wards. By modeling infant safe sleep practice, Olean General Hospital is helping ensure infants born at the hospital have safe sleep environments,” she said.

Sleep-related death is the number one killer of infants one to 12 months of age in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost 3,700 infants die each year while sleeping or napping. The American Academy of Pediatrics endorses the use of sleep sacks as the preferable method to keep babies safe while sleeping.

For more information on the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program, visit www.cribsforkids.org/safesleephospitalcertification.

Upper Allegheny Health System is the parent company of Bradford Regional Medical Center and Olean General Hospital. An integration of two prominent community hospitals in Southwestern New York state and Northwestern Pennsylvania, Upper Allegheny Health System’s goal is the enhancement of each hospital’s mission of care and service to their respective communities with the common goal of improving care, enhancing clinical programs and providing best-in-class service for various health needs.

Southern Tier Health Care System is a rural healthcare network serving Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties. Its mission is to improve the health and wellness or our rural communities.