Virginia Mason Memorial recognized as a national leader in safe sleep for babies

Dec. 19, 2017

Contact: Rebecca Teagarden, Memorial Communications: (509) 577-5051

YAKIMA — Virginia Mason Memorial is excited to announce that it has been recognized as a Cribs for Kids National Silver Certified Safe Sleep Leader. The Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program awards recognition to hospitals that demonstrate a commitment to reducing infant sleep-related deaths by promoting and educating on best safe sleep practices. VMM is one of the first hospitals in Washington to receive this title.

Health care facilities that achieve silver-level certification have demonstrated a commitment to community leadership for best practices and education on infant safe sleep through the development of a hospital policy, staff training, parent education, modeling through a wearable blanket program, and a pledge to participate in ongoing audits. VMM achieved the designation through its commitment to reduce infant sleep-related deaths by establishing a hospital infant safe-sleep policy, and modeling infant safe sleep throughout the hospital.

“Safe sleep for babies is a top priority,” said Jenifer Rhea, assistant nurse manager of Memorial’s Family Birth Place. “Education is crucial to ensuring a safe sleep environment for babies, and being certified ensures that we are following best practices.”

The Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program awards recognition to hospitals that demonstrate a commitment to reducing infant sleep-related deaths by suffocation by promoting best safe sleep practices and by educating on infant sleep safety.  By becoming certified, a hospital is demonstrating that it is committed to being a community leader and is pro-actively eliminating as many sleep-related deaths as possible.


To be designated a Silver Certified Safe Sleep Leader, in addition to the above criteria, the hospital must make use of wearable blankets in the Well-Baby Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as applicable, and record progress and report successes.
“Sleep-Related Death results in the loss of more than 3,500 infants every year in the U.S.,” said Michael H. Goodstein, M.D., neonatologist and medical director of research at Cribs for Kids. “We know that consistent education can have a profound effect on infant mortality, and this program is designed to encourage safe sleep education and to recognize those hospitals that are taking an active role in reducing these preventable deaths.”
Since 1998, Cribs for Kids has been making an impact on the rates of babies dying of accidental, sleep-related death in unsafe sleeping environments by educating parents and caregivers on the importance of practicing safe sleep for infants by providing Graco Pack ‘n Play portable cribs to families who, otherwise, cannot afford a safe place for their babies to sleep. Cribs for Kids currently has more than 800 licensed partners throughout the United States that implement its infant safe sleep program in their communities.


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For more information on the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program visit, or call Tiffany Price, the Director of Hospital and Community Initiatives @ 412-322-5680 ext.112.


About Virginia Mason Memorial

Virginia Mason Memorial, part of the Virginia Mason Health System, is a 226-bed, acute-care, nonprofit, community hospital serving Central Washington’s Yakima Valley. Virginia Mason Memorial includes primary care practices and specialty care services including high-quality cardiac care; cancer care through North Star Lodge; breast health at `Ohana Mammography Center; acute hospice and respite care at Cottage in the Meadow, winner of the Circle of Life Award from the American Hospital Association for innovative palliative and end-of-life care; pain management at Water’s Edge; an advanced NICU unit, the only place in Central Washington that offers specialty care for at-risk infants; advanced services for children with special health care needs at Children’s Village; and The Memorial Foundation, a separate 501c(3) organization that raises funds for innovative health care programs in the Yakima Valley (


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