Talking to Families
Starting the Conversation
When you hear the term "safe sleep," what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Or, when you hear the term "unsafe sleep," what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Gauge knowledge or experience with safe sleep, and a simple way to do that is to ask the questions above - this can help frame your conversation moving forward, and what you may need to focus more on during the education.
Ask open-ended questions
Open-ended questions give you more insight into the client's lifestyle, safe sleep practices, worries, etc.
Point out the caregivers' strengths
Pointing out caregivers' strengths will build a form of trust, and the caregiver will not feel judged or pressured to do something they may not want to do.
Example: It is wonderful that you are placing Bobby on his back to sleep at night, tell me more about the blanket he sleeps with.
Example: Bobby is lucky to have a parent who cares about him so much, let's talk more about where he is sleeping at night.
Practice attentive listening
Repeating the emotions, feelings, and/or reactions of the caregiver will ensure you are listening to their point of view, rather than telling them what they need to hear.
Example: I'm hearing your fears and understand your concerns with Bobby sleeping in another room, especially with the fire you both experienced last year in the home. It was a scary time, not knowing if he was okay. Let's talk about other safe sleep options besides keeping Bobby in his own room.
Practice cultural competence
Individual values, beliefs, and behaviors about health and well-being are shaped by various factors such as race, ethnicity, nationality, language, gender, socioeconomic status, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation and occupation.
Cultural competence in health care is broadly defined as the ability of providers and organizations to understand that each person has a set of values, beliefs and behaviors shaped by various factors and to integrate these factors into the delivery and structure of the health care system.
"Start where the client is"- this phrase means looking at the client's current behavior (how she is putting her baby to sleep today) and starting the conversation from that point. It is recognizing that clients are at different levels of readiness to change and the client is truly in the driver's seat – she decides what, when, and how to change.
Some content provided with approval from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
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There are 10 unsafe items in the following picture.
Click on all 10 to make the crib safe...
Stuffed animals can be dangerous, a baby could roll over onto the stuffed animal covering their face and cause suffocation or a baby could become entangled in the object and cause strangulation, all stuffed animals should be removed from the sleep space. Do not place anything in the crib with baby besides a firm mattress and tight-fitted sheet.
Back is best! Babies who sleep on their backs breathe easier and are less likely to suffocate or choke. Place your baby on their back to sleep for the first year of life.
Blankets are dangerous, a baby could cover their face or roll over onto blanket causing suffocation or strangulation. Do not place anything in the crib with baby besides a firm mattress and tight-fitted sheet. Consider using a "sleep sack" instead of blankets to keep your baby warm. Remember to dress the baby not the bed.
Bumper pads are dangerous due to suffocation, baby may position themselves against the pads and be unable to move or become trapped between the mattress and bumper pads. Do not place anything in the crib with baby besides a firm mattress and tight-fitted sheet.
Space heaters are dangerous due to fire hazard; they can also make the room too warm. The ideal room temperature for babies to sleep is between 68 and 72 degrees. Do not place crib/portable near any heating source such as a space heater, a fireplace, or a heat vent.
Loose curtains and cords from window blinds are dangerous and create a risk for strangulation. Do not place crib/portable crib near windows, blinds, or loose curtains.
Babies are curious and could easily grab and ingest the pills next to the crib. All medications should be place out of sight and out of reach of all children. Do not place pills or medications near a crib/portable crib due to poisoning and/or choking hazards.
Pillows can be dangerous due to suffocation, a baby could turn or roll over and their face could be covered by the pillow causing suffocation. A pillow should never be used for a baby as a positioner and should never be in a crib. Do not place anything in the crib with baby besides a firm mattress and tight-fitted sheet. To decrease risk of baby developing plagiocephaly, or "flat head," practice supervised tummy time while baby is awake.
Bottles, especially when filled, are dangerous due to choking, suffocation and asphyxiation. Babies should always be supervised during feedings. Do not place anything in the crib with baby besides a firm mattress and tight-fitted sheet.
Outlets are dangerous due to fire hazard and electrocution. Do not place crib/portable crib near outlets to prevent an older infant from playing with or putting something into the outlet.
The crib is now safe.
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