The Ohio AAP and the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund (OCTF) announced results of research conducted to better understand how to communicate with parents about safe sleep as part of their efforts to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of safe sleep practices.

The messaging research indicated that families are most responsive to hearing safe sleep messages from healthcare providers. They prefer to receive education in a one-on-one situation from a healthcare professional in the hospital where they gave birth, and/or from their pediatrician.

“Keeping their baby safe is a key motivator for parents when making decisions about how to care for their baby,” says Melissa Wervey Arnold, Ohio AAP CEO, in a release. “The research showed parents appreciate hearing that safe sleep can be the difference between life and death.”

In addition, the research provided information about how parents are motivated and what types of messages resonate best. Messages should convey an understanding that parents are:

  • Contributing to and providing for their family
  • Experiencing high stress levels and are extremely busy
  • Enjoy being supported by family and friends
  • Using culture and family advice for childrearing
  • Doing their best to make the right decisions when parenting

The Ohio AAP’s prescription for safe sleep provides four simple guidelines:

  1. Routine is the key. Consistently putting your baby to sleep in the same place, using the same routine will lead to good sleep habits.
  2. Create a calming environment with low lights, reading, and singing.
  3. Always put babies on their back to sleep, in their own crib that is free from blankets, pillows, bumpers, and stuffed animals. If the baby falls asleep elsewhere, they should be moved to their safe environment.
  4. Babies sleep safest in the room where you sleep, but not in your bed. AAP recommends infants share their parents’ room for at least the first six months and, optimally, the first year of life.