Baptist Health, Jacksonville Jaguars team up to promote sleep safety for newborns

Babies born at Baptist Health will go home with their first Jacksonville Jaguars fan attire to remind parents about safe sleep practices.

Jacksonville, Florida

Baptist Health, including Wolfson Children’s Hospital, and the Jacksonville Jaguars are teaming up to help reduce the infant injury and death rates associated with unsafe sleep practices. For the next year, babies born at a Baptist Health of Northeast Florida hospital will be sent home with a safe sleep kit as part of the newborn’s first postnatal well-baby visit. The safe sleep kit will include:

  • A tip sheet with instructions for creating a safe sleep environment
  • A Jacksonville Jaguars-themed sleep sack, which is designed to help remind parents how to clothe and position their baby for safe sleep
  • A book, Sleep Baby Safe and Snug, which was created by Charlie’s Kids Foundation to share safe sleep recommendations in an easily understandable and memorable way

“Our goal is to provide safe sleep education to new parents or caregivers taking their precious family members home. We want to increase positive birth outcomes by helping new parents and caregivers provide the safest sleep environment for their child,” said CC Brooks, MSN, RN, vice president of patient care services and nurse executive for Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

This effort is just one part of the ongoing collaboration between the Jaguars and Baptist Health to benefit the local community by supporting youth development, neighborhood revitalization, and caring for Jacksonville’s next generation.

“The Jaguars’ relationship with Baptist Health began during the team’s own infancy in 1995 and continues to this day,” said Jaguars President Mark Lamping. “Our new sleep safety program reflects that longstanding partnership and the Jaguars Foundation’s commitment to youth development, beginning at birth and continuing until these smallest fans grow into our community’s future leaders.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), nearly 3,500 infants die of sleep-related infant deaths in the U.S each year. Locally, the Community Health Needs Assessment for the Jacksonville area revealed a higher-than-state-average infant mortality rate in the Jacksonville region. In Duval County, there is an average of 17 sleep-related deaths each year. Unsafe sleeping practices can contribute to that rate.

The AAP recommends the following to create a safe sleep space for newborn babies:

  • Place infants on their backs to sleep in their own sleep space without other people.
  • Use a crib, bassinet, or portable play yard with a firm, flat mattress and a fitted sheet.
  • Do not allow baby to sleep on a couch, armchair, or in a seating device, such as a swing or car safety seat (except while riding in the car).
  • Keep loose blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, bumpers, and other soft items out of the sleep space. A sleep sack is a suitable alternative to blankets to keep baby warm.

The safe sleep kit is part of Baptist Health and Wolfson Children’s ongoing Safe Sleep Initiative, which promotes infant health and development by using safe sleep practices within the organization’s hospitals, providing training for team members, offering education for new parents/caregivers, and community outreach efforts.

THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health at Wolfson Children's Hospital, provides community education on safe sleep environments for babies. In addition to these virtual classes, educators with THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health also provide safe sleep training at community events, presentations for parent groups and home visiting programs for new moms. Additionally, they share information with pediatricians’ offices and home visiting programs and promote sleep safety awareness on Wolfson Children’s Hospital social media channels.

The Jaguars Foundation and Community Impact Department are committed to uplifting the Northeast Florida community and beyond by providing economic and equal opportunity through programs that strengthen our neighborhoods and develop our youth. Baptist Health is the official health care provider for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“Initiatives focused on safe sleep have led to a decline of sleep-related deaths for infants in Northeast Florida, but the need remains,” said Brooks.

Babies going home from the neonatal ICU are part of a separate program and may not receive the same sleep kit as babies going home from Labor & Delivery.