Infant Safe Sleep Promoted at RGH

September 13, 2017

Wendy Holdren/The Register-HeraldFirst Lady Cathy Justice, second from left, presents health care leaders at Raleigh General Hospital with a proclamation marking September as Safe Sleep Month for infants in West Virginia. Joining her were, from left, Dr. Admad Khiami, Dr. Gina Harris, Tamara Abel and Raleigh General CEO Matt Roberts.


As part of the “Say YES to Safe Sleep” campaign, health care providers at Raleigh General Hospital are trying to better educate new parents, grandparents and other child caregivers about proper sleep conditions for infants. 

“Unsafe sleep conditions continue to be the leading cause of death for West Virginia infants in the first year of life,” said First Lady Cathy Justice. 

Former First Lady Joanne Tomblin paved the way in championing infant safe sleep, and First Lady Justice is continuing the tradition of support. 

According to “Our Babies: Safe and Sound,” the ABCs of safe sleep for babies include: A, alone but nearby; B, place on their back; C, in a crib. 

Other sleep tips include the following: baby should always sleep alone, on their back and in their crib nearby; crib should be clear of toys, heavy or loose blankets, bumper pads and pillows; it’s safest for baby to sleep in the room where you sleep, but not in your bed; baby should sleep in a smoke-free room; mattress should be firm and fit close to the sides of the crib; baby should be dressed in light sleep clothing; and the room should be kept at a comfortable temperature. 

Raleigh General, the fourth largest birthing hospital in the state, has been a partner of the “Say YES to Safe Sleep” campaign since 2016; a total of 23 hospitals across the state now participate. 

“We’re now reaching 91 percent of babies born in West Virginia with this information,” said Becky King, a representative with Safe and Sound. 

King said West Virginia infants have many champions watching out for them, and the state has become a national leader in the safe sleep movement. But efforts must still continue to lower infant mortality rates. 

“Too many aren’t making it to their first birthdays due to unsafe sleep practice,” King said. “We do not want to lose any more babies due to unsafe sleep.”

Raleigh General CEO Matt Roberts shared a sobering statistic with the crowd: “In our state, every 10 days an infant passes away.”

He said the hospital and other health care providers must pursue ways to make West Virginia a better place for babies. 

By Wendy Holdren, The Register Herald

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