Safe Sleep Practices of Kansas Birthing Hospitals


  • Carolyn R. Ahlers-Schmidt, Ph.D. University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS
  • Christy Schunn, LSCSW Kansas Infant Death and SIDS Network, Wichita, KS
  • Cherie Sage, M.S. Safe Kids Kansas, Topeka, KS
  • Matthew Engel, MPH University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS
  • Mary Benton, Ph.D. University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS



infant mortality, organizational policy, hospital, pediatrics, guidelines


Introduction. Sleep-related death is tied with congenital anomalies
as the leading cause of infant mortality in Kansas, and external
risk factors are present in 83% of these deaths. Hospitals can impact
caregiver intentions to follow risk-reduction strategies. This project
assessed the current practices and policies of Kansas hospitals with
regard to safe sleep.

Methods. A cross-sectional survey of existing safe sleep practices
and policies in Kansas hospitals was performed. Hospitals were categorized
based on reported delivery volume and data were compared
across hospital sizes.

Results. Thirty-one of 73 (42%) contacted hospitals responded. Individual
survey respondents represented various hospital departments
including newborn/well-baby (68%), neonatal intensive care unit
(3%) and other non-nursery departments or administration (29%).
Fifty-eight percent of respondents reported staff were trained on
infant safe sleep; 44% of these held trainings annually. High volume
hospitals tended to have more annual training than low or mid volume
birth hospitals. Thirty-nine percent reported a safe sleep policy,
though most of these (67%) reported never auditing compliance. The
top barrier to safe sleep education, regardless of delivery volume, was
conflicting patient and family member beliefs.

Conclusions. Hospital promotion of infant safe sleep is being conducted
in Kansas to varying degrees. High and mid volume birth
hospitals may need to work more on formal auditing of safe sleep
practices, while low volume hospitals may need more staff training.
Low volume hospitals also may benefit from access to additional caregiver
education materials. Finally, it is important to note hospitals
should not be solely responsible for safe sleep education.
KS J Med 2018;11(1):1-4.




How to Cite

Ahlers-Schmidt, C. R., Schunn, C., Sage, C., Engel, M., & Benton, M. (2018). Safe Sleep Practices of Kansas Birthing Hospitals. Kansas Journal of Medicine, 11(1), 1–4.



Original Research