Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Posted on January 15, 2015 by


Our current featured article is by Sherri L. McMullen, PhD, RN, NNP-BC and Mary G. Carey, PhD, RN, CNS  title “Predicting Transition to the Supine Sleep Position in Preterm Infants.”  Their article demonstrates how good nursing care, focused on anticipating the needs of families after discharge from the hospital, can make a difference – even to the point of preventing a SIDS death.  Dr. McMullen shared this message about her article, which is based on her dissertation research:

Thank you for your interest in our article entitled “Predicting Transition to the Supine Sleep Position in Preterm Infants.” This article is work related to my PhD dissertation research and I am passionate about the topic. I had the privilege of meeting Peggy at the 2014 National League for Nursing Writing Retreat in Phoenix and I am so pleased to see my McCullen-300manuscript in press. I have been a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner for over 20 years and I decided to extend my expertise to include academia and research. I miss my submersion in clinical, but think it’s really important to research clinical practice to continually improve the care we provide patients. So much of the care we offer to our smallest patients impacts them after hospital discharge.

Positioning preterm infants supine while hospitalized and after discharge is an important aspect of infant care and its relatively new topic with little research completed to date. Preterm infants are positioned in a variety of positions while in the neonatal intensive care unit to promote optimal neurodevelopment. The preterm infant’s musculoskeletal system is pliable with risks of deformity with suboptimal positioning. The supine position is an important modifiable practice that reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome after hospital discharge. The retrospective research completed shows there is great variability in the clinical practice and there are three factors that predict a greater than one week transition to the supine position before hospital discharge. More research is needed to determine the optimal timing of transition and what developmental impact this transition has on the preterm infant. A balance must be found between allowing enough time for the infant to become acclimated to the supine position without impacting neurodevelopment.

You can obtain a free copy of this article while it is featured on the ANS web site!  Visit the web site today, then return here to share your comments and ideas!