The wake project: Improving safe sleep practices in a neonatal intensive care unit

S. Uduwana, L. Garcia, S. L. Nemerofsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Every year, about 50 babies in New York City die from a sleep-related injury. The Bronx County ranked second highest rate of sleep-related infant deaths (SRID) at 0.5 per 1000 among the other boroughs. The highest rate was among blacks and the rate of SRID cases were highest in our population at 0.97 (zip code 10466) among all other Bronx neighborhoods which comprises 77% of non-Hispanic black population. Further, Bronx has the highest preterm birth rate at 9.5%. This quality improvement (QI) project aimed to develop and implement an educational initiative on infant safe sleep (SS) to improve 'Safe Sleep Practices (SSP) in a level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for one of the highest risk populations in the country. METHODS: Baseline data was collected prior to initiating the QI project. Multiple plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycles were completed over a 12 month period. Run charts were utilized to identify improvement and guide interventions. These interventions included education for nurses, crib cards, posters, feedback forms, grand rounds and small group discussions. RESULTS: Approximately 600 crib checks (CC) were performed over the duration of this project. At baseline, 7% of infants were placed in a SS position in the NICU. Following the QI project, SS position increased to 96% of infants. CONCLUSION: Multifactorial interventions significantly improved SS compliance among NICU nurses. Cultivating personal motivation among nurses, consistent empowerment and dedication to culture change by the entire team was crucial for the sustainability of the project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-127
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • NICU
  • Safe sleep
  • newborn
  • sleep related deaths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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