The White River Medical Center (WRMC) Auxiliary recently hosted the Arkansas Hospital Auxiliary Association (AHAA) North Central District meeting at the Batesville Community Center and Aquatic Park. In addition to the host Auxiliary, the meeting included volunteers from seven hospitals in the region
Ron Taylor, president of the WRMC Auxiliary, hosted the event. Kathy Gammill, chair of the North Central District presided over the meeting, and Darlene Tuohy, AHAA president discussed the importance of volunteers to Arkansas Hospitals and introduced Suzanne Hackney, AHAA president-elect.
Keynote speakers, Dr. Verona Brown and Ella Shelton, spoke in regards to Infant Safe Sleep and the Taylor McKeen Shelton Foundation.
Shelton and her husband, Dr. Wes Shelton, created the Taylor McKeen Shelton Foundation after the tragic death of their 14-month-old son, Taylor, from Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC). SUDC is the fifth leading cause of death in children ages one to four. The Taylor McKeen Shelton Foundation supports families affected by SUDC and raises awareness. The foundation also raises money for research and financially supports programs to improve the lives of children.
The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control states that Arkansas ranks number one in infant sleep-related deaths, according to Dr. Brown. To prevent this tragedy, the WRMC Auxiliary, the Taylor McKeen Shelton Foundation, and WRMC Family Centered Maternity Department are working to educate parents and families on the importance of infant safe sleep.
The foundation provided the initial funding for WRMC’s Cribs for Kids program. WRMC’s Family- Centered Maternity Department is a nationally-certified Safe Sleep Champion. The program provides a Halo Sleep Sack to every newborn delivered at WRMC. The program also provides Pack-n-Play cribs to families who do not have a safe crib for their newborn.
Dr. Brown explained the principles of infant safe sleep as follows: 1. The baby should always sleep alone. Infants should never sleep with siblings or parents. 2. The baby should always sleep on their back. 3. The baby should sleep in a safe approved crib with a snug fitting bottom sheet and no other toys or blankets in the bed.
Since the program began, WRMC has provided over 1,000 sleep sacks infants born at WRMC. For more information about becoming a hospital volunteer or infant safe sleep, contact Toi McMullin, Director of volunteers, at 870-262-6555.