November 9, 2021

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “there are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths among U.S. babies each year, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation, and deaths from unknown causes.” Education about safe sleep practices is vital.

At EDC, the Children’s Safety Network’s Child Safety Learning Collaborative has worked to support states in improving, adapting, and spreading safe sleep efforts through continuous quality improvement (CQI) training and peer learning opportunities. EDC promotes using CQI that will lead to improved client outcomes. Here we share two success stories.

How Georgia Adapted to Virtual Safe Sleep Training

As a part of Georgia’s response to infant sleep-related deaths, the state planned to use existing home visiting programs to help identify unsafe sleep environments by training home visitors, who would then educate infant caregivers. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put a wrinkle in their in-person training plan. In response, the state revised its safe sleep training for home visitors to a video format, which was distributed to Georgia’s public health regions. Using a Plan, Do, Study, Act testing cycle, the state monitored the success of the training video and its implementation through feedback from the public health regions.

States and communities across the country use CQI approaches and tools to identify problems and gaps in their existing safe sleep education programs. Using CQI methods, they have been able to improve and expand the reach of their work.

Safe Sleep Training in Nontraditional Settings

In our second success story, efforts to reduce sleep-related infant deaths involved a new curriculum and pack and plays, a type of mobile crib. This state reached out to a number of different settings where babies sleep in order to promote safe sleep environments, including nontraditional settings, such as church nurseries and home day cares. The state’s public health network distributed the educational materials, which were specifically developed for caregivers working and volunteering in nontraditional settings, as well as pack and plays.

This project was an outreach of previous successful and ongoing efforts to educate medical professionals, caregivers, and parents throughout the state in more traditional settings.


If you would like more information on safe sleep practices or improving processes and programs, following are some resources. If you have used CQI approaches, we’d love to hear about your experiences.

Erin Ficker, associate project director and child safety learning collaborative co-manager, works on CQI projects to improve the quality and reach of child safety initiatives and substance use prevention work. She works with states and communities to increase their understanding and application of CQI in public health.
Marcy Raska is a senior training and technical assistance associate for the Home Visiting Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (HV CoIIN) and the MIECHV Technical Assistance Resource Center. She supports awardees in using CQI to improve outcomes for children and families.
Behavioral, Physical, and Mental Health
Capacity Building for Individuals, Organizations, and Systems

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