MICHIGAN CITY, Indiana – Franciscan Health Michigan City has been designated as a Gold Infant
Safe Sleep Hospital, achieving the highest level of certification by Cribs for Kids.
The hospital announced the achievement on March 1, which is designated as National Baby Sleep
“I am proud of the hard work and dedication of our Family Birth Center team in leading the way
to earning Gold Safe Sleep status,” Franciscan Health Michigan City President and CEO Dean
Mazzoni said. “They exemplify our commitment to compassionate concern and care for our
community in these efforts to provide families with the tools they need to ensure our most
vulnerable patients are safe and healthy.”
Franciscan Health Michigan City was previously awarded five-year Silver Level status in 2017.
“Your hospital’s leadership and healthcare team members’ commitment to best practices,
education, use of safe sleep products, and quality improvement initiatives along with a dedication
to community outreach to support safe infant sleep is commendable and should be celebrated,”
Devon George, chief program officer of Cribs for Kids, said.
Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), which includes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), is
the leading cause of injury death in infancy, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP). The rate of sleep-related infant death declined significantly in the 1990s after the AAP
recommended babies are placed on their backs to sleep, but rates have since plateaued with SIDS
remaining the leading cause of infant mortality.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 3,400 SUID deaths
annually in the United States. In 2020, the CDC reports, there were 1,389 infant sleep deaths due
to SIDS, about 1,062 sleep-related deaths due to unknown causes, and about 905 deaths due to
accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.
The issue is particularly pressing in LaPorte County where the infant mortality rate is 11.4%,
higher than the state average of 6.6% and more than twice as high as the national average.
Indiana ranks ninth in the nation for infant mortality.
“We are so pleased to be elevated to Gold Safe Sleep Designation here at Franciscan Health
Michigan City,” said Patricia DeStefano, manager of the Franciscan Health Michigan City Family
Birth Center. “We are working very hard to improve the health of our most vulnerable patients,
the children in our community. A Gold designation means we held community events going
outside the walls of the hospital. Our nursing staff is committed to this work with a goal to
decrease our infant morbidity/mortality rates.”
Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program recognizes hospitals and
hospital systems for their commitment to infant safe sleep to reduce the risk of sudden
unexpected infant death, accidental suffocation, and strangulation in bed, sudden infant death
syndrome and unsafe sleep injuries.
To achieve Gold Level status, hospitals must implement a host of policies including providing
training to all staff caring for infants, providing safe sleep education to families, identifying families
needing safe sleep space and distribute them prior to discharge and participate in community
outreach initiatives to educate the community on safe sleep practices.
Franciscan Health Michigan City joins four Franciscan Health hospitals with the Gold Infant Safe
Sleep Hospital designation including Franciscan Health Olympia Fields, Franciscan Health Dyer,
Franciscan Health Crown Point and Franciscan Health Lafayette East. Franciscan Health
Mooresville and Franciscan Health Indianapolis both have Silver Infant Safe Sleep Hospital