In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released undated guidelines for infant safe sleep. Specific recommendations included: infants should sleep alone (no bed-sharing); infants should sleep on their back; and infants should sleep in a crib or bassinet. Each year in Tennessee, nearly 600 infants die before reaching their first birthday and twenty percent of infant deaths in Tennessee are attributable to preventable unsafe sleep practices.1 Among those sleep-related infant deaths in Tennessee between the years of 2009-2011, 84% were not sleeping in a crib or bassinet, 68% were not sleeping alone and 46% were not sleeping on their back.1 

AAP also recommends that healthcare professionals endorse risk-reduction strategies as 98.7% of Tennessee births occur in hospitals.2 A study in 2001 showed that parents who witnessed exclusive back sleeping in a nursery were more likely to put their baby on their back at home.3 Currently all Tennessee OB facilities, as well as some other non-birthing hospitals, participate in the Safe Sleep initiative through the Tennessee Department of Health. To better assist you in providing safe sleep materials to your new parents and their families, the Tennessee Department of Health has free “Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug” board books for each birth at your facility, “ABC’s of Safe Sleep” materials, and recognition of participating hospitals on their website. For materials or to learn more, go to or contact Rachel Heitmann, Director of Injury Prevention and Detection, at


Healthy TN Babies Website
HALO Swaddler Program for Hospitals
Safe Sleep Family Story - Mason Weaver
National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month Social Media Toolkit
Interactive E-Handout for Safe Sleep Conversations

Sample Safe Sleep Policies:
Cribs for Kids Safe Sleep Policy
East Tennessee Children's Hospital Sleep Policy
Tennessee Department of Health Safe Sleep Hospital Project

THA OB Contact

Jackie Moreland
Clinical Quality Improvement Specialist

Chris Clarke
Senior VP for Clinical Services

Patient Education Resources