March 21, 2017


Georgia has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. Every week three infants in Georgia die due to sleep-related causes, many of which are preventable. Last year, the Georgia Department of Public Health asked Rockdale Medical Center to sign a pledge of intent to participate in the Safe to Sleep initiative, along with all birthing hospitals in the state, to help end the trend.

Now, the department has named Rockdale Medical Center a “Georgia Safe to Sleep Hospital.”

“Rockdale Medical Center’s Birth Place is committed to providing new families in our community with the most up to date, evidence-based practice standards. The Birth Place staff has a unique opportunity to provide education to our new families during an important life event-the birth of a new baby”, says Margie Hunter, RN, Director of Women’s Services “Hospital staff are now educating and role modeling to our new parents and grandparents safe sleep methods to ensure our smallest patients are kept safe.”

The honor indicates Rockdale Medical Center has educated staff and parents, implemented a safe infant sleep policy, modeled safe sleep while babies are in the hospital and distributed educational support materials. It also signifies Rockdale Medical Center has completed crib audits to measure compliance with safe sleep recommendations.   

The number of children under one year of age that die from a sleep-related cause such as SIDS, suffocation, entrapment or asphyxia has remained fairly constant in Georgia. The goal of Georgia’s Safe to Sleep initiative is to educate mothers, fathers, grandparents and caregivers about the importance of putting babies to sleep following the ABCs of safe sleep as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Alone – Babies should sleep alone in their own sleep space, close to but separate from their caregiver.

            Back – Babies should be placed on their back to sleep. Every nap. Every sleep. Every time.

Crib – Babies should sleep in a crib or bassinet with a firm, flat surface with no extra things such as crib bumpers, blankets or toys.

All 79 birthing hospitals in Georgia have pledged to model safe sleep behaviors throughout their facilities, and the Georgia Safe to Sleep Hospital designation will grow as more hospitals complete the pledge’s milestones.

“More than 60 percent of sleep-related deaths in 2014 occurred in an adult bed,” said Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. “Babies need a separate sleep space.”

About Rockdale Medical Center

Rockdale Medical Center, part of LifePoint Health, is committed to Making Communities Healthier®. A 138-bed, acute-care facility, Rockdale Medical Center offers a wide range of services including inpatient and outpatient services and leading-edge technology. Rockdale Medical Center is fully accredited by The Joint Commission which evaluates hospital patient care for quality, safety and value. For more information about Rockdale Medical Center, please visit  For more information about LifePoint Health, visit