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Forrest General Hospital awarded grant for Safe Sleep Program - Forrest Health
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    Published on November 20, 2015

    Forrest General Hospital awarded grant from March of Dimes to launch Safe Sleep Program

    Hattiesburg, Miss. (November 20, 2015) The March of Dimes awarded a $10,847.00 grant to Forrest General Hospital to implement the Safe Sleep Program, an enhanced training and education program aimed at reducing the number of deaths attributed to Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), through the new Safe Sleep Program. SIDS, also known as, “crib death,” is defined as a sudden or unexplained death in children 12 months or younger.

    Anita Henderson, M.D., explained, "In 1994 the Back-to-Sleep Campaign was launched, and the SIDS rates in the U.S. dropped by more than 50 percent.” Henderson continued, “But there are other preventable factors still contributing to SIDS, and that is why the Safe Sleep Program was launched. Unfortunately, many babies in Mississippi still sleep in unsafe environments, and we know that babies who sleep in unsafe environments, including adult beds, have a 40 times greater risk of dying of SIDS." According to Henderson, babies need to sleep ALONE, on their BACKS, in an empty CRIB, in a smoke-free environment. The grant also allowed the hospital to purchase infant “onesies” with the message, “This side up,” as a reminder for mothers to place babies on their backs to sleep.

    According to the most recent Mississippi Infant Mortality Report, Mississippi has the dubious distinction of leading the United States in infant mortality with SIDS and suffocation among the leading causes of death for infants.

    "With the highest rate of prematurity in the nation and the highest infant mortality rate, we are always looking for the low hanging fruit that could move the needle the quickest. SUID accounts for the majority of sleep-related deaths in Mississippi, and many of those could be completely avoided with more education regarding safe sleep. We applaud Forrest General's efforts to address these issues and educate the public," said Dina Ray, state director for the Mississippi Chapter of the March of Dimes.

    The March of Dimes, founded in 1938, has a mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. They do this by funding research, helping moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies, and supporting families and comforting them when their babies need help to survive and thrive. As part of this effort, the Mississippi Chapter Community Grants Program is designed to invest in priority projects that further the March of Dimes mission, support campaign objectives, and further their strategic goal of promoting equity in birth outcomes.

    For more information about the Safe Sleep Program at Forrest General, visit

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