WMH Maternity Nurses Share SIDS Prevention Tips

(Honesdale, October 8, 2021)…

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. According to the  American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), approximately 3,600 babies die each year in the United States during sleep because of unsafe sleep environments—entrapment, suffocation, strangulation and SIDS.  Some studies show SIDS is responsible for as many as one in three unexpected infant deaths.

This month especially, nurses at Wayne Memorial Hospital’s New Beginnings Birthing Suites strive to promote awareness about SIDS and safe infant sleep. The staff has completed two phases of a sleep safety program offered by PASafeSleep, a project of Penn Medicine and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Here are a few tips from staff and the AAP:


  • Place your baby to sleep on his/her back for every sleep.
  • Place your baby to sleep on a firm, flat surface. Cribs, bassinets, portable play yards should meet current safety standards.
  • Cover the mattress with a fitted sheet.
  • Do not put blankets or pillows between the mattress and fitted sheet.
  • Keep soft objects, loose bedding, blankets or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation out of the crib.
  • Share your room with your baby, but not your bed. Keep the crib within arm’s reach.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot.This helps reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Breastfeed as much and for as long as you can. This helps reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy or allow smoking around your baby. Some studies show exposure even to passive smoke doubles a baby’s risk of SIDS.
  • Schedule and go to all well-child visits.  Recent evidence suggests that immunizations may have a protective effect against SIDS.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. This helps reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Use caution when using products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. Cardiorespiratory monitors can be helpful for babies with breathing or heart problems, but they have not been found to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Give your baby plenty of “tummy time” when he/she is awake to strengthen neck muscles and help prevent flat spots on the head.


Close to 500 babies are born each year in the New Beginnings Birthing Suites at Wayne Memorial. “And we want every one of them to grow up into strong healthy adults,” says New Beginnings Co-Coordinator Janice Pettinato, “and it begins with safe sleep in infancy.”

Photo, l. to. R.: Elizabeth Raszewski, RN;  Janice Pettinato, RN, and Mary Jeanne Joyal, RN. Behind them is a PASafeSleep Certificate of Completion for Phase I.