Jackson, Miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health is partnering with American Medical Response (AMR) to train their staff on a safe sleep program called DOSE (Direct On Scene Education) in the hopes of educating families on safe sleep practices. DOSE is a new program to help eliminate the number of sleep related infant deaths by using first responders to identify and remove possible hazards, while delivering education on the scene.
“The DOSE program is an exciting opportunity to work with first responders to prevent one of the leading causes of infant death in our state – SIDS and unsafe sleep. As a physician I counsel my patients about the risks of unsafe sleep, but I am not in their homes and I can't see when they need help. First responders can directly find high risk situations and help educate parents about putting their babies to sleep alone, on their backs and in a crib free of pillows and blankets,” said Dr. Charlene Collier, Director of the Mississippi Perinatal Quality Collaborative.
Ryan Wilson, a Clinical Education Manager for AMR in Mississippi and Louisiana, says a program like this was needed in Mississippi. “When we look at our data we notice an alarmingly high rate of infant mortality, and based on the experiences of myself and other field providers, it seems many of these were accidental and could have been prevented.”
Mississippi’s infant mortality rate is the highest in the country at 8.2 per 1,000 births. Despite a decline of 15% from 2010-2014, it remains higher than the national average of 6.1. Along with prematurity and birth defects, sudden infant death syndrome is the third highest cause of death among infants between 1 and 4 months of age. It is also the most preventable.
Wilson, who is also a father of four, has responded to the scene of a sleep-related pediatric cardiac arrest, which he describes as the worst situation a patient care provider can face.
“The death of a child is usually much more difficult to handle for everyone involved, particularly when it is accidental, because the family now has to experience guilt on top of the grief. Our inspiration is to save as many children as we can and prevent this terrible situation from affecting more lives,” he said.
For more information on preventing sleep-related deaths, visit HealthyMS.com/sids.
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