NH Infant Safe Sleep Symposium

Health care providers, home visitors and other supporters of new and expectant parents came together for this educational event. They learned the latest information on how to reduce the risks associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) in a sleep setting.

The Symposium blended local and national experts presenting and discussing the latest information on the challenges of defining, tracking and preventing unexpected infant death. 

The national experts present, including Carrie Shapiro-Mendoza, Teri Covington and NH’s own Dr. Robert Darnall praised New Hampshire’s efforts on our work with the Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) Registry.  Dr. Shapiro-Mendoza’s broad examples about the difficulty of conclusively identifying an infant death as SIDS was brought vividly home by Kim Fallon’s presentation. The Chief Forensic Investigator of the NH Chief Medical Examiner’s office shared death scene photos, which demonstrated the challenges with real examples.

Teri Covington shared NH’s role as one of 9 states tracking SUIDs because of federal grant funding.  Dr. Darnall is a NH pediatrician but has been a key participant in the development of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on safe sleep. He not only enriched the day with his presentation but offered insightful and informative answers to participants’ questions throughout the day. 

The day concluded with a panel of folks working directly with parents in a variety of settings. They shared their strategies for promoting safe sleep practices with the parents with whom they work.  Karen Jameson, a home visitor with Good Beginnings of Sullivan County, said she shares her own challenge of always assuring her infant slept in a way consistent with safe sleep practices with parents because as a new parent she was exhausted.  This honest discussion can lead parents toward trying new ideas. Other panelists said listening to new parents and their struggles is the key to their considering a change in their caretaking.  Dr. Shapiro-Mendoza, as moderator of the panel, stated her appreciation for the innovative ideas NH practitioners offer for promoting infant safe sleep practices. 

Participants went home with a recently published children’s book written about infant safe sleep.  We hope the book provides a great reminder of this informative day!  

If you missed the Symposium, here are a few of the materials provided:

This symposium was financed in part through a Contract with the State of New Hampshire, Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services, with funds provided in part or in whole by the State of New Hampshire and/or such other funding sources as were available or required, e.g., the United States Department of Health and Human Services.