Photo by: UC San Diego Athletics

Triton Athletics, UC San Diego Health Raise SIDS Awareness


LA JOLLA, Calif. -- In an effort to increase awareness to SIDS, the leading cause of death in infants between 1 month and 1 year of age, UC San Diego Athletics maintains a partnership with UC San Diego Health to provide newborn babies a Tritons branded Halo Sleep Sack.

The program was developed as part of a major gift from UC San Diego men's rowing coach Zach Johnson and his wife, Hannah.  The couple has two young children and was inspired by the work of UC San Diego Health and Dr. Lisa Stellwagen.

"There are several young coaches and staff members with children that work in the Triton athletic department and we wanted to contribute to something we are all passionate about," said Johnson.  "We were searching for a way to strengthen synergies between UC San Diego Health and athletics.  With the great work of Dr. Stellwagen and her colleagues, we thought the Sleep Sack program would be a great way to do that."

“SIDS” is a term used to describe the sudden death of an infant younger than one year of age that remains unexplained after a complete investigation. Nurses, physicians, other care providers, and caregivers have made significant progress in reducing the number of American infants who die each year by educating parents and caregivers about risk factors for SIDS.

Although the US has seen a 50% decrease in the SIDS rate since AAP released its 1992 recommendation that infants be placed down for sleep in a nonprone position. Sleep Sacks help babies sleep safely by decreasing the chance of suffocation.

“We are so grateful to provide sleep sacks to our families so newborns can use them both in the hospital and at home,” said Stellwagen, a pediatrician at UC San Diego Health. “Providing a safe sleeping environment significantly decreases the risk of SIDS.”

October is SIDS Awareness Month, which was created to raise awareness about SIDS and SIDS risk reduction.

"Who knows, maybe a few of the happy, healthy babies born at UC San Diego Health will grow up to wear another Triton uniform in about 18 years," said Johnson.

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country.  The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference.  UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent.  A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships.  In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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