Public Health Committee


Bill No.:




Vote Date:


Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:


File No.:



Public Health Committee


To facilitate and encourage safe sleep practices and prevent avoidable infant deaths.


Connecticut Department of Children and Families: A study conducted by DCF found that unsafe sleep caused the death of 11.2% of children and was related of the deaths of 33.9% of the deaths. The study analyzed 124 fatalities between January 1, 2005 and May 31, 2014 of children ages zero to three in families with some agency involvement.

The Department initiatives include:

● DCF Policy 44-12-8, which provides brochures and discussions with families and Development of a Public Health campaign with target messaging.

● Public health campaign is being designed and developed to increase caregiver knowledge and raise public awareness of topic relevant to preventing child abuse and maltreatment.

● DCF secured technical assistance from Casey Family Programs and Prevent Child Abuse America to develop targeted messaging. Included targeted messaging to dads and male caregivers.

● Messaging will also highlight the dangers of common risk factor for parents and caregivers around the dangers of substance, “sofa sleeping” and other high risk behaviors.

Senator Martin M. Looney, President Pro Tempore: Each year, more than a dozen Connecticut children die needlessly due to unsafe sleep practices. By educating parents before they leave the hospital, we can potentially influence the parents' behavior and possibly save their children's lives. Connecticut infants are more likely to die from unsafe sleeping conditions than from child abuse, or from any type of accidental injury, including car accidents, choking, drowning or falls.

James R. Gill, M.D., Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner: Supports Bill 258. Connecticut Medical Examiners and our colleagues across the country have seen an increase in the identification of infant's deaths that occur with unsafe sleeping practices. By focusing parental education at the source, we can best offer the best opportunity to prevent these fatalities.

Susan S. Williams, MD, Associate Medical Examiner: Supports Bill SB258. Out of the 100 infants autopsies profromed the majority of them associated with unsafe sleep conditions. Dr. Williams gives full support to any legislation that would help educate the public about this real risk of death to their baby.


Sharon Moales, LCSW, Lead Social Worker, Yale New Haven Hospital: From personal experience in the Emergency Room she believes that parents need information and education provided at the time that a child is born and throughout the first year of life.

Jack Reed, Deputy Police Chief, Willimantic: Believes that these types of deaths are preventable and that mothers should be educated on safe sleep practices at the Hospital level. He described a personal story of a child's death he investigated because of unsafe sleeping practice.

Kirsten Bechtel, MD, Associate Professor, Yale School of Medicine: States the importance of new parents hearing consistent information about a safe sleep environment cannot be overstated. This information should be consistently delivered and reinforced to parents by health care providers, starting at the time of new born hospital discharge and through the first five years of life.

Michael J. Soltis, M.D.: Believes that this bill is a critical step in preventing deaths of infants in Connecticut. Through his experience he feels that many of these rare deaths are preventable and that more work needs to be done to ensure that a consistent message is given by hospitals regarding safe sleep practice.

Christian M. Pettker, MD, Yale-New Haven Hospital: Supports the bill and feel that providing informational materials regarding recommended safe sleep practices for infants can help prevent newborn deaths.

Eve R. Colson, MD, Yale School of Medicine: Research has shown strong associations between what parents are told in the hospital regarding safe infant sleep and what they choose to do at home. If health care providers consistently provide the AAP safe sleep recommendations to families, there is no doubt that we will save lives.

Marc Auerbach, MD, Yale School of Medicine: Infant deaths are preventable through safe sleep practices and prevention.

Nina Livingston, MD, Connecticut Children's Medical Center: During her clinical work evaluating injured children for possible abuse or neglect, she regularly encounters the tragic consequences of unsafe sleep practices. As a pediatrician, she knows it is critical that parents receive repeated messages regarding safe sleep environment. The best opportunity to provide this information is the newborn nursery, when parents are available and perceptive to education, and when infants are at highest risk.

Melissa Rowe, LCSW, Department of Social Work, Yale-New Haven Hospital: It will provide Connecticut hospitals with the tools for sending out a universal and standardized message across all disciplines, both verbally, and in printed materials for all parents who leave the hospital with a cherished newborn infant.

Center for Children's Advocacy: Unsafe sleep related deaths are the leading cause of preventable deaths of infants in Connecticut. Many families are not aware of the risks. This bill would remedy this information gap by requiring all hospitals in Connecticut to provide parents of newborns with safe sleep information.

Ted S. Rosenkrantz, MD: Believes education would help prevent these sleep related deaths. Implementation should require little in economic resources yet prevent the deaths of our most precious children.

Jaspreet Loyal, Medical Director, Well Newborn Nursery at Yale-New Haven Hospital: Providing information to the families will help prevent death amongst infants and it is our responsibility to educate our families about this risk starting at birth.


Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA): Agrees that teaching parents how to provide a safe sleeping environment for their newborns is an important part of infant care, but does not think legislation is necessary at this time. Connecticut hospitals already ensure that new parents receive information that includes AAP's recommended safe sleep practices before infants are discharged. Prior to discharge, a registered nurse also reviews and reinforces the information with the parents.

Reported by: Zani Imetovski

Date: 4/1/2015