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Johnson County receives recognition for infant safe sleep practices

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment’s prenatal program recently received bronze-level Safe Sleep Star Certification from the Kansas Infant Death and SIDS (KIDS) Network. Johnson County is one of the first health departments in the state to receive this safety designation. In order to receive the bronze-level designation, an agency must provide annual safe sleep training to staff, create a safe sleep policy and make available take-home materials for the public regarding safe sleep practices for infants.

The Safe Sleep Star program was created by the KIDS Network, a Kansas-based organization dedicated to reducing the risk of infant deaths by providing supportive services, community education, professional training and supporting associated research. In addition to being KIDS partners, Johnson County was recognized for following the safe sleep guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and providing training programs for caregivers, staff and the community.

Department of Health and Environment Child Care Facilities Specialist Kathy Griffin helped initiate the partnership and, as a KIDS Network Safe Sleep Instructor, provided training for staff.

“We have truly gone above and beyond to promote safe sleep practices for our clients,” Griffin said. “We do an assessment of expecting mothers, their understanding of safe sleep for their babies, and when they are in need of resources to ensure their babies are able to sleep safely in the home, we assist them with their needs.”

In some circumstances, fitted sheets, sleep sacks and cribettes have been provided to new and expectant mothers. Social workers in the prenatal clinic meet with their clients and determine whether there is a safe sleep environment in the home for the baby. Clients may be referred to a crib clinic that Griffin offers on a monthly basis.

“We are proud to be recognized for our work to support families,” Griffin said. “If we can prevent even one child death in our community by urging safe sleep practices for our youngest and most precious Johnson County residents, it is well worth the effort.”

The Safe Sleep Star program was developed in collaboration with maternal infant health partners, and partially founded by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. For more information about the program, visit kidsks.org/safe-sleep-toolkit.html. To learn more about safe sleep services in Johnson County, contact Kathy Griffin at 913-477-8381.


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