Journal of Community Health

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 185–191 | Cite as

Implementation of a Statewide Program to Promote Safe Sleep, Breastfeeding and Tobacco Cessation to High Risk Pregnant Women

  • Carolyn R. Ahlers-SchmidtEmail author
  • Christy Schunn
  • Matthew Engel
  • Jolynn Dowling
  • Kim Neufeld
  • Stephanie Kuhlmann
Original Paper


Infant mortality remains a problem in the United States with sleep-related deaths accounting for a significant portion. Known risk reduction strategies include breastfeeding, avoiding tobacco use and following the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleep guidelines. The purpose of this project was to evaluate outcomes of Safe Sleep Instructor-led community baby showers, which included safe sleep promotion, breastfeeding promotion and tobacco cessation education. Certified Safe Sleep Instructors (n = 35) were trained on how to plan and host a Community Baby Shower to provide education to pregnant women of low socioeconomic status or with high risk of infant mortality. Eighteen Community Baby Showers were held across two urban and eight rural counties in Kansas. Surveys were administered pre- and post-event to assess participant knowledge, confidence and intentions to follow through with planned action related to safe sleep, breastfeeding and reducing tobacco risk. Matched data were summarized and evaluated for differences using McNemar’s and Wilcoxon Signed Rank tests. Significant increases were observed in Baby Shower participants’ (n = 845) reported plans to follow the AAP Safe Sleep guidelines (all p < 0.001), likelihood to breastfeed (p < 0.001), confidence in ability to breastfeed for more than 6 months (p < 0.001), knowledge of local breastfeeding support resources (p < 0.001), knowledge of ways to avoid second-hand smoke exposure (p < 0.001) and knowledge of local tobacco cessation services (p = 0.004). Based on the result of the pre- and post-event surveys, certified Safe Sleep Instructors were able to plan and host successful events to increase knowledge and confidence related to risk reduction strategies to reduce sleep-related infant deaths.


Safe sleep Breastfeeding Tobacco cessation Infant mortality SIDS 



This project is supported in part by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Bureau of Family Health Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant #B04MC30614 funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn R. Ahlers-Schmidt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christy Schunn
    • 2
  • Matthew Engel
    • 1
  • Jolynn Dowling
    • 3
  • Kim Neufeld
    • 4
  • Stephanie Kuhlmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Center for Research for Infant Birth and Survival (CRIBS)University of Kansas School of Medicine - WichitaWichitaUSA
  2. 2.Kansas Infant Death and SIDS (KIDS) NetworkWichitaUSA
  3. 3.Janice M. Riordan Distinguished Professorship in Maternal Child HealthWichita State UniversityWichitaUSA
  4. 4.Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Family PhysiciansWichitaUSA

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