FORT WAYNE, IND. – NOV. 14, 2022 – In an effort to educate more caregivers on the importance of safe sleep for infants, Parkview Health is offering an innovative safe sleep education program for Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) students.
Nurses from the Parkview Community Nursing team, who work with FWCS to support the district’s health and wellness initiatives, are teaching safe sleep and basic infant care courses to all eighth-grade students this semester. Students in this age group are often babysitters or caregivers to siblings at home.
“Often, only a parent receives education about safe sleep. The reality is that babies have multiple caregivers, including siblings, babysitters and other family members – it’s vital that all of them know about safe sleep,” said Erin Norton, director of community outreach, Parkview Women’s & Children’s Hospital. “Previously, this training was only available to area students through babysitting courses, so we are excited to expand it to all eighth graders. Infant deaths caused by unsafe sleep are preventable, so we can save more lives as we train more caregivers.”
“We are very happy and excited to bring this important information to our students,” said Mary Hess, director of health and wellness, FWCS. “It will allow them to more safely care for younger children, whether that be at home or while at a babysitting job. These skills, while simple to learn, can have a huge impact because they have the potential to save lives and help shape the parents of the future.”
Safe sleep education is a key factor in reducing Indiana’s infant mortality rate. According to the Indiana Department of Health, 16.5% of infant deaths are sleep-related.
To give students a better understanding of the importance of safe sleep practices, the Parkview Community Nursing team will use Safe Sleep Simulation kits, which were developed by Parkview Health co-workers using feedback from community educators and safe sleep advocates. These unique kits provide a hands-on learning experience and audio-visual demonstrations using a 3D infant model and mobile application
“Safe Sleep Simulation allows caregivers to hear about and see how babies are actually safest when following the ABCs – sleeping Alone, on their Back, and in their Crib. The simulation addresses the common misconception that infants will choke on their vomit or spit-up,” said Lisa Clemens, co-founder of Safe Sleep Simulation. “The idea behind the Safe Sleep Simulation kit is that the use of visual and auditory cues, in addition to experiential learning, will help caregivers adhere to those safe sleep practices.”
Safe sleep training for FWCS students started in October and will continue through mid-December.