Safe Sleep Education Works to Reduce Sleep-Related Injuries

Posted on May 31, 2016 in All IPCS News, violence and abuse prevention

Safe Sleep Education Works to Reduce Sleep-Related Injuries

Lisa Kimura- Executive Director

Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii

cribs-for-kidsYou may have heard of Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies’ safe sleep education program, Hawaii Cribs for Kids. HMHB launched the program in 2013, targeting high-risk, low-income families. The program provides education based on current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) safe sleep guidelines, as well as a free GRACO Pack N Play® travel cribs for families who cannot otherwise afford to provide their baby with a safe place to sleep.

HMHB mobilized local organizations that serve populations at greatest risk, training prenatal case managers and social workers to screen and refer eligible participants. The program has successfully expanded throughout Oahu, Hawaii Island, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, and soon, to Kauai.

In 2015, the program reached 121 families with the coordination of 17 partner agencies, and 49 families thus far in 2016. HMHB conducts follow up participant interviews at three months and one year postpartum; the data collected shows that safe sleep practices are still being practiced at very consistent rates. Nearly all families report practicing the AAP recommendations, and there have been no incidents of sleep-related injury among participants. This information helps validate the success of the education, as well as the potential for reducing risks, to help babies sleep safely.

Why is this program needed? Because unintentional suffocation is a leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injury among infants(1) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death among infants between the age of one month and one year; the third leading cause of infant mortality overall in the United States.

In Hawaii, SIDS accounts for 41% of all post-neonatal deaths in the State,(2) with data indicating that only 35.4% of babies usually sleep in an environment that meets all of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) recommendations for a safe sleep environment. As many families are unaware of the simple preventative steps, as well as the behaviors and risk factors that endanger their infant, education is an ongoing area of importance for the nearly 19,000 births each year in Hawaii.(2)

To become a partner agency, or for more information on Hawaii Cribs for Kids or other HMHB services, please visit or contact (808) 737-5805.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). 2011.  Available from URL:

2. Elia J, Roberson E, Niitani L. “Hawaii Safe Sleep Quick Facts.” Honolulu, HI: Hawaii Department of Health. 2013. Available from URL: