USA Children's & Women's Hospital employees managed an information table at Kohl's department store on Schillinger Road after Kohl's Department Stores presented the hospital with a $74,514 check to support the Kohl's Infant Safe Sleep program. From left, Cassandra Commings, development specialist; Carol Druckenmiller, assistant administrator; Veronica Hudson, Mother/Baby nurse manager; Lalita Holder, Mother/Baby clinical nurse educator; and Nicole Smith, MOM Care quality assurance director.
MOBILE - Kohl's Department Stores has announced a grant of $74,514 to the University of South Alabama Children's & Women's Hospital to renew and expand a safe sleeping program for infants. The program is called KISS, which stands for Kohl's Infant Safe Sleep.
Since starting the KISS program three years ago, Kohl's Department Stores has provided USA Children's & Women's Hospital more than $168,000 in support through the Kohl's Cares philanthropic program. The funds are used to purchase educational materials for parents and other caregivers, and to provide free cribs to qualifying families.
The Kohl's Cribs for Kids initiative last year gave more than 100 Pack 'n Play cribs to qualifying Mobile County families. The cribs can play a key role in reducing deaths due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and unsafe sleep. Last year, 43 infants died in Mobile County before their first birthday, the same number as in 2008. Twelve of the deaths were sleep-related, compared to 16 in 2008.
"Last year, the Kohl's Cribs for Kids Program was such a success, and I am thrilled that Kohl's has decided to support this program once again," Nicole Smith, RN, quality assurance director with MOM Care at USA Children's & Women's Hospital, said. "Although we are making headway in reducing the number of infants that die every year due to unsafe sleeping environment, we still have a lot of work to do."
USA Children's & Women's Hospital, through MOM Care - Mobile's Medicaid
Maternity Program - provides education and training for qualifying families on proper sleep position and sleep environment for the baby. When a qualifying family completes the program, they receive a free Pack 'n Play. The cribs are portable and can be taken wherever the baby receives care.
"Many families, due to financial strains, find themselves in a position of not being able to afford a crib and this can quickly turn tragic," Smith said. "The Kohl's Cribs for Kids program provides qualifying families with the most basic of needs to help prevent an unnecessary and tragic death."
The KISS program emphasizes education, as USA Children's & Women's Hospital nurses go out into the community to teach parents and caregivers safe sleeping habits for infants.
"There continues to be concern in our community about SIDS and the need to educate parents and caregivers about infant safe sleep habits," Veronica Hudson, RN, nurse manager of the Mother/Baby Unit at USA Children's & Women's Hospital, said.
"With Kohl's support, we are presently in more locations teaching families both in the hospital and the community about SIDS and safe sleep habits," Hudson said. "We really appreciate Kohl's giving us the support to teach caregivers the importance of positioning and the sleep environment for infants."
Hudson and her team share some key points about infant sleep habits, such as always placing your baby on his or her back to sleep, even for naps. Other important reminders are:
"By providing safe sleep education and needed support to parents and other family members, we hope that this will help families feel comfortable in caring for their newborns, have the resources they need to care for their newborns, and that the number of SIDS cases can continuously be reduced," Hudson said. "The KISS program is a great opportunity to use the resources offered by the nurses of USA Children's & Women's Hospital and the support provided by Kohl's to deliver a community awareness campaign of infant safe sleep practices."
- Place your baby on a firm mattress, such as in a safety approved crib
- Remove soft, fluffy bedding and stuffed toys from your baby's crib
- Make sure your baby's head and face remain uncovered during sleep
- Do not allow smoking around your baby
- Do not let your baby get too warm during sleep
- Talk to childcare providers, grandparents, babysitters and all caregivers about SIDS risks
- Do not allow your baby to share a bed with anyone
- Have the infant sleep in the same room as the caregiver
- Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime
- Encourage "tummy time" when the infant is awake and observed by a caregiver
To schedule a KISS visit, or for more information about Kohl's Cribs for Kids, please call USA Children's & Women's Hospital at 415-1000 or visit www.southalabama.edu/usacwh, click on Education and look for the KISS link.