A bill that requires hospitals and nurse midwives to educate new parents on SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) has been approved by the Pennsylvania House and Senate. The bill, which is expected to be signed by Governor Ed Rendell this week, will force hospitals not currently providing new parents with SIDS education to do so.
Introduced by State Representative Lawrence Curry (D)- Montgomery/Philadelphia the bill only needs to be signed by the Governor before taking effect.
Nilima Karamchandani, Chief of the Division of Neonatalogy at West Penn Hospital, says that most hospitals already offer SIDS education but without a law there is no way of making sure that every hospital does..... "I think the nurses are being educated and the hospital personnel are already aware, they just need it formalized so it is done consistently." She also said that education varies from hospital to hospital and more requirements on what parents are told could save more lives.
Karamchandani says that some of the most frequent mistakes by parents that may contribute to SIDS death are laying infants on their stomachs, letting them sleep in a crib with a thick comforter or stuffed animals, and parents sleeping in the same bed with the child. She also said that parents can sleep in the same room as infants but not in the same bed. According to the Department of Public Health, in 2008, 85 infants in Pennsylvania died of SIDS or accidental suffocation compared to 93 in 2007. 51% of those deaths deemed "sleep related" involved the infant sleeping with others.