UVM Medical Center

The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital partners with Cribs for Kids and State of Vermont to promote safe sleep practices and prevent infant deaths

Measures include education for all and free portable cribs for eligible families.


A nurse-led initiative to provide consistent safe sleep education for all new families at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital has led to national recognition for the hospital, and nurses are encouraging Vermonters to take steps that will keep their infants safe. Through a partnership with Cribs for Kids, a National Infant Safe Sleep Initiative, all ne

w families will receive “sleep sacks” for their infants, and some eligible families will receive portable cribs.

Thousands of sudden, unexpected infant deaths occur each year in the United States. Research indicates the vast majority are accidental and are due to babies sleeping in unsafe sleeping environments, with a large portion attributed to bed sharing. The UVM Children’s Hospital and the Health Department remind parents and caregivers that the safest way for a baby to sleep is alone on their back in a crib that is completely clear of blankets, toys and any other objects, and that is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“In addition to providing safe portable cribs as needed, we want to make sure all parents and caregivers know the ‘ABC’s’ of safe sleep,” said Dr. Lewis First, Chief of Pediatrics at the UVM Children’s Hospital. “That means that a baby needs to sleep ‘A’lone, on their ‘B’ack and in a ‘C’rib that has a firm mattress, a tight fitting bottom sheet, and no blankets, crib bumpers, or toys.”

With support from the Children’s Miracle Network, eligible families receiving care at the hospital will receive portable cribs if they cannot otherwise afford safe-sleeping environments for their infants. The hospital’s efforts have earned the National Infant Safe Sleep Initiative’s highest designation: Gold Safe Sleep Champion Hospital. A safe sleep nursery is on display for families to see in the Mother-Baby Unit.

The UVM Medical Center’s effort to educate new families dovetails with a new statewide safe sleep campaign by the Vermont Department of Health. “Our goal is to make sure that parents and caregivers understand the importance of safe sleep practices,” said Dr. Mark Levine, Commissioner of Health at the Vermont Department of Health. “It is critical to their baby’s safety that the child sleeps in an environment where they are not at risk of accidental suffocation.”

Dr. Levine also encouraged parents to educate family members, babysitters and anyone else who may provide care for their infants about safe sleep practices.

“Educating and equipping families regarding safe sleep for their babies, and modeling safe sleep during their newborn’s hospital stay, is one of the most impactful things we can do for new families,” said Dr. Karin Gray.

The UVM Children’s Hospital became an official Cribs for Kids site in April 2018. The hospital’s Cribs for Kids program provides eligible families with Cribettes to help reduce deaths due to Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) related to an unsafe sleep environment. Cribettes are provided to families who are unable to purchase one and who are referred by a nurse during their hospital admission. Cribettes are used because they are portable and can be taken wherever the baby needs to be cared for. Before a family is given a Cribette, nurses provide education and training on proper sleep position and sleep environment for the baby.

View information from the Vermont Department of Health regarding safe sleep environments. We thank the Children’s Miracle Network and the Fraternal Order of Eagles for their generous donations to our program. If you are interested in making a donation to this program please contact safesleep [at] uvmhealth.org.

About The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital

From the maternity unit to the emergency department and from our Children’s Specialty Center to our pediatric primary care clinics, The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital offers a welcoming child and family-friendly atmosphere with high-quality pediatric care. In partnership with The University of Vermont Medical Center, The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital delivers expert care grounded in the latest research to residents throughout Vermont and northern New York. It is fully accredited by the Children’s Hospital Association. For more information please contact us at 802-847-0000.

About Cribs for Kids

Cribs for kids is a national safe-sleep education program that helps to reduce the risk of injury and death of infants due to accidental suffocation, asphyxia or undetermined causes in unsafe sleeping environments. Since 1998, Cribs for Kids has been making an impact on reducing the rate of infant sleep-related deaths by educating parents and caregivers on the importance of practicing safe sleep and providing portable cribs to families who otherwise cannot provide a safe place for their babies to sleep. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Cribs for Kids currently has more than 950+ partners throughout the United States implementing infant safe-sleep programs in their communities. All education is based on the AAP Guidelines for Infant Sleep Safety. Visit cribsforkids.org for more information.