For their efforts to reduce infant deaths in the state,10 birthing hospitals have been recognized as a 2021 BEST for Babies award recipient by the Tennessee Department of Health. BEST for Babies hospitals promote Breastfeeding, Early Elective delivery reduction, and Safe Sleep for Tennessee babies. To receive the designation, the hospitals met state-identified criteria to heighten awareness and save lives.
The 10 hospitals are:
- Ascension Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital
- Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital
- Cumberland Medical Center
- Indian Path Community Hospital
- Livingston Regional Hospital
- Maury Regional Medical Center
- Methodist Hospital – Germantown
- TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center
- TriStar Summit Medical Center
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Hospitals must meet the following criteria to receive the BEST Award:
- Breastfeeding – Earn baby-friendly designation, have an increase of five percent in breastfeeding initiation rate from 2019 to 2020 or have a breastfeeding initiation rate of 82 percent or higher.
- Early Elective Delivery – Have an early elective delivery rate of five percent or less for 2020.
- Safe Sleep – Have Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification at a minimum of bronze level or a safe sleep policy meeting current American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. In addition, hospitals must submit documentation of crib audits averaging a minimum of 90 percent safe cribs.
In 2020, approximately 6.3 out of every 1,000 infants in Tennessee did not make it to their first birthday.
However, the partnership among TDH, THA and birthing hospitals has helped improve birth outcomes and infant health in Tennessee. The state’s infant mortality rate has decreased from 7.4 per 1,000 live births in 2017 to 7.0 in 2019. Between 2009 and 2019, the infant mortality rate in Tennessee declined more than 12 percent.
Even though the overall infant mortality rate and number of infant deaths has been declining over the past few years, sleep-related deaths account for one in four infant fatalities. In 2020, there were 115 infant sleep-related deaths, meaning 25 percent of all infant deaths were due to sleep-related causes.
For more information, on infant mortality or safe sleep, contact the Tennessee Department of Health.