Prevent sudden infant death syndrome? Rutgers has app for that
To better educate parents and to create a more efficient way for health care providers to share information on safe sleep recommendations, a team of Rutgers University medical experts developed a free SIDS app.
Dr. Barbara Ostfeld is a pediatrics professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and program director of the SIDS Center of New Jersey. She is also one of the developers of the app.
Nationwide, some 3,500 infants die each year of sudden unexpected infant deaths. That's roughly one baby for every 1,100 live births. New Jersey's rate is lower, with one death per 1,700 births or about 60 infants per year. While these rates have declined, SIDS remains the third leading cause of infant deaths in the Garden State and the fourth nationwide.
While pamphlets about SIDS can become lost or even outdated, she says the app is a better way for people to get their information. It's not only available at everyone's fingertips, she says the app is comprehensive and not easy to lose.
It has a maternal voice that provides information such as educating the user on topics such as selecting a safe crib or how to dress an infant.
A Spanish-language, text-only mode is also available.
Ostfeld says a lot of information has to go home with parents after spending 48 hours in a hospital, so loading them up with paperwork and flyers is difficult.
She says the goal is to provide hospital nurses who educate new families at discharge with an efficient and standardized tool that parents can download to their phone for continued reference.
"They can sit with the families, review the app. It has a lot of charm and then offer to download it to the parent's or individual's phone after it. It's a free app. There's no charge for it," says Ostfeld.
Ostfeld and her co-developer, Thomas Hegyi of the SIDS Center of New Jersey, hope the app will broaden the reach of the AAP guidelines which have been associated with a drop of more than 50 percent in infant sleep-related deaths since they were introduced.
You can find the app on your iPhone or Android device by searching SIDS Center of NJ or SCNJ.