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October 14, 2011 - USA Children's & Women's Hospital, KOHL's Department Store Expand KOHL's Infant Safe Sleep Program

Kohl’s Cares presented USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital with a check for $110,612 to expand the Kohl’s Infant Safe Sleep, or KISS, program at the hospital. From left are Owen Bailey, USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital administrator, Veronica Hudson, nurse manager of the hospital’s Mother/Baby unit, and Angela Howard, executive assistant general manager of Kohl’s Department Store.

Kohl’s Department Store, through the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program, has announced a grant of $110,612 to USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital to renew and expand a safe sleeping program for infants. The program is called KISS, which stands for Kohl’s Infant Safe Sleep. Since starting the KISS program four years ago, Kohl’s Department Stores – through the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program – has provided USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital $278,949 in support. The funds are used to purchase educational materials for parents and other caregivers, promote infant safe sleeping habits in the community and provide free cribs to qualifying families.

The Kohl’s Cribs for Kids initiative last year distributed 110 Pack ‘n Play portable cribs to qualifying Mobile County families. The cribs can play a key role in reducing deaths due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, and unsafe sleep. Last year, 43 infants died in Mobile County before their first birthday, a figure that has remained constant since 2008. Preliminary data shows 11 of the deaths were sleep-related, one less than a year ago.

“We are thrilled that Kohl's has decided to support Kohl’s Cribs for Kids once again,” Nicole Smith, RN, quality assurance director with MOM Care at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, said. “As the infant mortality figures for Mobile County show, there is much work to be done to create a safer environment for babies.”

USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, through MOM Care – Mobile’s Medicaid Maternity Program – provides education and training for qualifying families on proper sleep position and sleep environment for the baby. When a qualifying family completes the program, they receive a free Pack ‘n Play. The cribs are portable and can be taken wherever the baby receives care.

“Some families, due to financial strains, find themselves in a position of not being able to afford a crib and this can quickly turn tragic,” Smith said. “The Kohl's Cribs for Kids program provides qualifying families with the most basic of needs to help prevent an unnecessary and tragic death.”

The KISS program emphasizes education, as USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital nurses go out into the community to teach parents and caregivers safe sleeping habits for infants.

“There continues to be concern in our community about SIDS and the need to educate parents and caregivers about infant safe sleep habits,” Veronica Hudson, RN, nurse manager of the Mother/Baby Unit at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, said.

“With Kohl’s support, we are presently in more locations teaching families both in the hospital and the community about SIDS and safe sleep habits,” Hudson said. “We really appreciate Kohl's giving us the support to teach caregivers the importance of positioning and the sleep environment for infants.” Hudson and her team share some key points about infant sleep habits, such as always placing your baby on his or her back to sleep, even for naps. Other important reminders are:
  • Place your baby on a firm mattress, such as in a safety approved crib
  • Remove soft, fluffy bedding and stuffed toys from your baby’s crib
  • Make sure your baby’s head and face remain uncovered during sleep
  • Do not allow smoking around your baby
  • Do not let your baby get too warm during sleep
  • Talk to childcare providers, grandparents, babysitters and all caregivers about SIDS risks
  • Do not allow your baby to share a bed with anyone
  • Have the infant sleep in the same room as the caregiver
  • Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime
  • Encourage “tummy time” when the infant is awake and observed by a caregiver
“By providing safe sleep education and needed support to parents and other family members, we hope that this will help families feel comfortable in caring for their newborns, have the resources they need to care for their newborns, and that the number of SIDS cases can continuously be reduced,” Hudson said. “The KISS program is a great opportunity to use the resources offered by the nurses of USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital and the support provided by Kohl's to deliver a community awareness campaign of infant safe sleep practices.”

To schedule a KISS visit, or for more information about Kohl’s Cribs for Kids, please call USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital at 415-1000 or visit, then click on Education and look for the KISS link.

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