Critical Incident Review Team

Unsafe sleep conditions are one of the leading causes of deaths for infants in the state of Oregon. An infant is considered a child between birth and age one. Many of these infants and/or their families have had some contact with the Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Program. The majority of these deaths are due to asphyxiation, as a result of a hazardous sleep environment. The department is working proactively to improve casework practice standards in an effort to effect positive change.

One of the primary unsafe sleeping conditions is bed sharing. This refers to an infant and one or more adults or children sleeping together on any surface, not necessarily a bed. This could be sharing a surface such as a couch, a chair, or a futon. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics the safest place for an infant to sleep is alone in their own crib with a firm mattress, a tightly fitted sheet, on their back, and in a smoke-free environment.

Education and Training

Child Protective Service workers will receive in-person training through branch unit meetings. This will be provided in collaboration with contracted local nurses, CPS supervisors, and child safety consultants. The training will consist of Child Welfare Safe Sleep procedures and best practice standards. Additionally, the Child Safety Program is currently researching the possibility of incorporating the use of Safe Sleep Coaches to work with local branches on cases that involve concerns with infant sleeping environments.

Child Welfare will also increase efforts to partner with the community to provide families with appropriate education surrounding safe and unsafe sleep. These partners may include contracted Addiction Recovery Team providers, contracted nurses, Oregon Health Authority, local hospitals, Women Infants and Children Program (WIC), Healthy Start, Early Head Start and other community home visiting services.