This is the first of 3 articles about safe sleep for babies best practice, and how Nightingale Notes can help.

Although the two may seem completely unrelated, we’ll explain how they are related, and what Nightingale Notes can tell healthcare providers about parents and caregivers of new born babies.

The recent CDC Vital Signs Safe Sleep for Babies report explains the current best safe sleeping practice for babies.

What has changed?

Since the 1990s, there have been significant improvements in reducing baby deaths during sleep.

One of the most important improvement was recommending that babies sleep on their back.

In addition, to this, there are several other recommendations which can help reduce the risk of the more common sleep-related baby deaths, such as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation and deaths from unknown causes.

How common are sleep-related baby deaths?

Although the improvements in information and best practice mean that more parents and caregivers are aware of best practice, there are still a staggering number of sleep-related baby deaths each year, and many more babies are at risk.

According to the CDC:

  • 3,500 babies die of sleep-related deaths in the US each year
  • 22% of mothers don’t place their baby on his or her back to sleep, as recommended
  • 39% of mothers use soft bedding (not recommended) when placing babies to sleep
  • ~50% of caregivers do not receive correct advice on sleep from healthcare providers

Why are these figures so high?

There is so much information, and sometimes unsolicited advice, available from friends and family, and internet forums, as well as healthcare providers, so it’s easy to see why parents and caregivers are overwhelmed confused by what they see and hear.

Would you:

  • Risk trying something that worked for some stranger online?
  • Take the advice of a healthcare provider who has never had children?
  • Do what you think is right for your baby?

It’s sometimes also much easier to do what the baby wants, or what is more convenient for the parent of caregiver, rather than what is possibly best for the baby.

What do parents and caregivers need to remember?

According to the CDC, the key points that parents and caregivers need to remember are as follows:

  • Place baby on his or her back for all sleeps, including naps
  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib
  • Keep soft objects such as pillows and loose bedding out of sleep area
  • Have baby share your room, not your bed

Following this advice is likely to help your baby sleep better and reduce the risk of sleep-related death.

What do healthcare providers need to remember?

Healthcare providers already understand that new parents and caregivers are under a lot of pressure, from family and friends, ‘the internet’ and themselves too.


  • Would a home visit makes more sense than a handful of flyers, or book and app recommendations?
  • Have there have been health issues with babies in this family before?
  • Is this demographic is more likely to have babies with health problems?

If parents and caregivers, and healthcare providers, know and follow the best practice, they can help reduce the risk of sleep-related baby deaths.

Continue Reading in Part Two…

Part two will talk about how Delaware General Health District uses Nightingale Notes to help improve the service they provided to parents and caregivers of newborn babies, as well as how they use Nightingale Notes to capture and analyze data, and make recommendations based on that data.