Parent Education Requirements

Superstar parent education must:

  • Include more than just providing print material.  A brochure or information sheet is not enough. 
    • Teaching may include viewing a safe sleep educational video (see links below).
    • Teaching must include some face to face discussion with trained staff so parents can ask questions and discuss concerns, and staff can assess parental understanding and acceptance of safe sleep practices.
    • Use of motivational interviewing techniques is strongly recommended.  This technique has been proven to help individuals change risky behaviors, such as not following safe sleep practices (see link to motivational interviewing document below).
  • Be provided in a consistent manner to every new parent before discharge from the hospital.
    • Safe sleep education for new parents should be comprehensive and cover:
  • Sleep position                                            
  • Sleep surface (risks of chairs, sofas,adult beds, car seats, etc.)                   
  • Sleep environment (room sharing, risks of bed-sharing*)        
  • Soft materials (toys, bumper pads, pillows, blankets, positioning aids)
  • Overheating
  • Smoking
  • Breastfeeding
  • Pacifier use
  • Immunizations (safety, no link to SIDS)
  • Tummy time
    • Provision of safe sleep education must be documented in the mother’s chart.
    • Asking parents to sign an acknowledgement or pledge form is strongly recommended.Signing a document acknowledging that safe sleep information was provided and understood or pledging to follow safe sleep recommendations adds weight to the message conveyed and gives parents more ownership of the information (see links to sample acknowledgement and pledge forms below)
  • Include safe sleep information as part of discharge planning for every infant at discharge from any unit in the hospital.
* It is critical to educate parents on the risks associated with bed-sharing.  In Maryland, there were 267 Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths from 2011 to 2015.  At least 49% of these deaths involved bed-sharing (see 2016 Maryland Child Fatality Review Annual Report ).

Parent Education Resources: