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November 13, 2012 - USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, Kohl’s Department Store Renew Kohl’s Infant Safe Sleep Program

Children’s & Women’s Administrator Owen Bailey, right, receives the check from Kohl’s General Store Manager Cecil Sheppard with support from Cassandra Odom of the hospital’s Development Office.
Kohl’s Department Store, through the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program, has announced a grant of $106,755 to the University of South Alabama 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 five years ago, Kohl’s Department Stores – through the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program – has provided USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital $385,704 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 has distributed more than 400 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, 44 infants died in Mobile County before their first birthday, a figure that has remained constant since 2008.  However, only 18 percent of the deaths were sleep-related, an improvement over 23 percent from a year earlier. 

“Kohl’s Cribs for Kids is making a huge impact,” Nicole Smith, RN, quality assurance director with MOM Care at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, said.  “While we are encouraged by the drop in sleep-related infant deaths, our work is not done and we’re grateful for the support of Kohl’s.”

Tony Bondora, coordinator for the Alabama Baby Coalition, discusses safe sleeping habits 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.

“The economy has created some real challenges for families, and we consider a crib to be an absolute necessity,” 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 also 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.

“Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is something that every parent and caregiver must be aware of, as well as safe sleep habits that reduce the risk of SIDS,” Veronica Hudson, RN, nurse manager of the Mother/Baby Unit at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, said. 

More than 1,000 caregivers received training last year from Children’s & Women’s personnel through the KISS program.  “Kohl’s has made this outreach possible and we really appreciate their commitment to safe sleep habits for infants,” Hudson said.

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

Mobile County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood listens as Rep. Napoleon Bracy speaks during the Kohl’s Infant Safe Sleep news conference.
“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.

USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is among fewer than ten freestanding hospitals in the country dedicated specifically to the health care needs of children and women, offering Mobile’s only neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, pediatric oncology and sickle cell outpatient center and high-risk obstetrical care.  With more than 2,700 births annually, USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is the area’s leader in deliveries.

A major expansion that will nearly double the size of USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is scheduled to be completed in 2013, recognizing the community’s validation of the hospital’s quality of care and the hospital’s opportunity to continue to meet the needs of a varied and growing population.

Kohl's commitment to USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is made possible through the Kohl's Cares® cause merchandise program.  Through this initiative, Kohl’s sells $5 books and plush toys where 100 percent of net profit benefits children’s health and education programs nationwide, including hospital partnerships like this one.  Kohl's has raised more than $208 million dollars through this merchandise program.  

In addition to the merchandise program, Kohl's Cares® features the Kohl's Cares® Scholarship Program, which last year recognized more than 2,100 young volunteers with a total of $410,000 in scholarships and prizes.  Through Kohl’s Associates in Action volunteer program, more than 500,000 associates have donated more than 1.6 million hours of their time since 2001 and Kohl’s has donated more than $47 million to youth-focused nonprofit organizations.  Kohl’s also offers fundraising gift cards for schools and youth-serving organizations.  For more information, visit

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