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Speak Out: How to Use Media Influence to Promote Safe Sleep
The Northwest Bulletin, University of Washington School of Public Health, October 2018

Parents tuck infants beneath decorative blankets in crib commercials, lie them belly-down with blank-faced teddy bears in television shows, and artfully snuggle them into soft fluffy bedscapes across Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. 


Popular media and advertisements set the standard for what “looks normal” to healthcare consumers—repeated exposure to imagery can shape people's beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.1-5 Current media messaging and advertising contradict and overpower public health campaigns and medical advice on infant safe sleep practices.

Despite Educational Campaigns, US Infants Are Still Dying Due to Unsafe Sleep Conditions
 JAMA, June 6, 2018

It’s been nearly a quarter of a century since the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) launched the “Back to Sleep” campaign and more than a decade since the NICHD renamed the campaign “Safe to Sleep” to educate physicians and caregivers about safe sleep environments as well as the safe sleep position.

And yet, approximately 3500 sleep-related infant deaths still occur each year in the United States, a number that has remained fairly steady since initial declines in the 1990s.

... Two charities whose goal is to prevent SUIDs cases, the Lullaby Trust in the United Kingdom and the Charlie’s Kids Foundation in the United States, issued warnings in 2017 against putting babies to sleep in the boxes. Besides the lack of evidence that they reduce SUIDs, cardboard boxes can’t possibly meet safety standards for nursery furniture, the charities said.

Sudden deaths still high among newborns despite safe sleep campaigns

The TODAY Show, February 14, 2018

Like most new parents, 3-week-old Charlie Hanke’s family was exhausted. To give Charlie’s mom a break, his dad, Dr. Samuel Hanke scooped up the little boy and brought him over to the couch. Hanke laid down with the infant on his chest, facing belly down.

“I was watching TV and I nodded off to sleep,” Hanke said. “When I woke up, Charlie was gone.”

In those brief minutes Sam Hanke had slept, his son died from sudden unexpected infant death, or SUID. Even though he was a practicing pediatrician, Hanke had never heard that chest-to-chest positioning of a baby raised the risk of SUID. “The only reason I share this story and relive the tragedy is to try to help people make some sense of the numbers,” he said.

Baby Suffocation Deaths From Co-Sleeping Rise

WEBMD Health News, February 12, 2018

Feb. 12, 2018 -- Sam and Maura Hanke were over the moon when they welcomed their first child, Charlie, into the world in 2010. They quickly settled into life with the healthy newborn and loved the joys and challenges that came with realizing their dream of becoming parents.

One night when he was 3 weeks old, Charlie was fussier than normal and was up late into the night, struggling to sleep. Since Maura was breastfeeding, Sam offered to hold him so his wife could get some rest. The new father sat down on the couch to watch television and fell asleep with Charlie lying on his chest.

“When I woke up, he was gone,” Hanke said. “I would do everything in my power to have another day with him.”


Preventing SIDS with safe sleep: Your baby is worth it
WHAS 11, November 10, 2017


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS 11)--One to three babies die every month in Jefferson County to what’s known as SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. But experts say in most cases, the death isn’t a mystery. It's caused by something you as a parent can prevent, unsafe sleeping conditions.


"In our family case, we don't know if it was a SIDS death, but we know it was an unsafe sleep environment and Sam was doing exactly what every father loves to do, holding his son on his chest, watching ESPN. What better thing could you do with your newborn? He got Charlie to sleep and when Sam fell asleep, he woke up and Charlie didn't. That's a nightmare, Sam lives with every day," Gary Hanke, Charlie's grandfather said.

Ryan Lochte reads Sleep Baby Safe and Snug to newborn son

On June 17, 2017, we were thrilled to see Olympian Ryan Lochte reading Sleep Baby Safe and Snug  to his son, Caiden Zane.

charlies_kids    #Repost @ryanlochte with #repostapp 

Happy Father's Day to all! And thank you to Ryan and Kayla for sharing Sleep Baby Safe and Snug with baby Caiden! ♥️ #safesleep #charlieskids


ryanlochte  Sleep sleep my son #CZL #daddyduties

This Instagram-Ready Photograph is Profoundly Dangerous

In 2010, Dr. Sam Hanke fell asleep on the couch with his 4-week-old son Charlie and woke up, hours later, to find his child dead

Fatherly, June 2, 2017

Dr. Sam Hanke fell asleep on the couch with his 4-week-old son Charlie and woke up, hours later, to find his child dead. It was April of 2010 and the pediatric cardiologist and his wife Maura, a kindergarten teacher, were both overjoyed to have a healthy kid, who had come into the world without drama and, occasional fussiness aside, been a normal baby boy. Hanke fell asleep with his son hoping to give his wife, who had been breastfeeding, a rest.

“I just sat down on the couch to watch some TV and he was kind of sitting on my chest. We were just hanging out and I nodded off,” Hanke remembers. “A couple hours later I woke up and Charlie was gone.”


Co-sleeping puts infant's life at risk, experts say

The Ledger,  December 21, 2016 

In October, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with more recommendations to prevent SIDS and SUIDS. Chief among them was that infants should sleep on their backs in their own cribs or bassinets in the parents' bedroom until at least 6 months old, preferably 1 year old.

Local couple works to educate parents about preventing infant sleep-related death

WLWT5 - November 17, 2016

"Dr. Sam Hanke is a pediatrician. It's his job to take care of babies and children. So what happened to him and his wife Maura rocked them to the core."

After Losing His Son To SIDS, This Pediatrician Urges Parents:
‘Safe Sleep Is Not Negotiable’

In memory of his son, promoting safe sleep has become this dad's mission.

Simplemost,  October 31, 2016

On Oct. 24, at the recent American Academy of Pediatrics Annual Meeting in San Francisco, a small contingent of doctors held a press conference to highlight changes to the Academy’s safe sleep recommendations to reduce the risk of SIDS and other infant sleep-related deaths.

Dr. Sam Hanke, a pediatric cardiologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, sat on the panel looking very much like any other qualified member of the team—and he was. But, he wasn’t there for his impressive resume. Dr. Hanke was asked to speak as a father—about his son Charlie.

American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Safe Sleep Recommendations to Protect Against SIDS, Sleep-Related Infant Deaths


San Francisco, CA -- Infants should sleep in the same bedroom as their parents – but on a separate surface, such as a crib or bassinet, and never on a couch, armchair or soft surface -- to decrease the risks of sleep-related deaths, according to a new policy statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Tennessee Celebrates Reduction in Sleep-Related Infant Deaths

Charlie's Kids Celebrates One Million Books

Tennessee Department of Health, February 25, 2016 


NASHVILLE – Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam and Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, joined other state and local officials at the Tennessee Residence in Nashville Thursday, Feb. 25 to celebrate the success of the statewide initiative to reduce sleep-related deaths among infants. TDH has partnered with the Charlie’s Kids Foundation and Tennessee hospitals since 2014 to help new parents and hospital staff members learn the “ABCs of Safe Sleep.” Tennessee has seen a 25 percent reduction in sleep-related deaths of infants during this period.


The celebration started with an opportunity to meet Charlie’s Kids Foundation Co-founders Dr. Sam and Maura Hanke, who established the organization after losing their first child to SIDS. Charlie’s Kids was founded with the purpose of increasing safe sleep awareness and education with the ultimate goal of reducing the SIDS mortality rate. Sam, a pediatric cardiologist, and Maura, a kindergarten teacher, have made it their mission to teach others that a baby is safest alone and on his or her back in a crib for sleeping.


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Keurig Changes Commercial Following Tweet From Charlie's Kids

Twitter, November 5, 2015

National coffee guru Keurig recently changed a video commercial after receiving a tweet from Charlie's Kids urging them to avoid using unsafe sleep images. A few weeks later, Keurig responded with a new commercial, sans the unsafe sleep, and thanked Charlie's Kids for the education. 

Local Parents Share Their Story to Reduce SIDS

Cincinnati Magazine January 29, 2015


When I received a copy of Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug at the hospital following my second daughter’s birth, I had no idea that there was a story behind the book’s blatant overtures toward safe sleep. Or that after learning that story four months later, I’d be tearfully vowing to stop bringing my restless girl into bed with me and my husband at five a.m.


Practicing safe sleep can be so much harder than it appears on the surface, but stories like that of Cincinnatians Maura and Sam Hanke (a pediatric cardiologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital), who lost their first son to SIDS in 2010, are a tragic reminder of why it’s so important to keep trying...

These Parents are Teaching Others How to Prevent What Tragically Killed Their Baby

Huffington Post January 26, 2015

In the weeks after the birth of their son Charlie, Maura and Sam Hanke were the picture of exhausted, blissed-out new parents. Maura's pregnancy had been smooth and full of excitement. Her labor and delivery were straightforward, "nothing out of the ordinary," she said. Charlie, the couple's first child, came into the world on April 6, 2010, a healthy 7 pounds, 11 ounces and 21 inches long.


"That was the best day of my life, meeting him," Maura, 34, told The Huffington Post. "It was awesome."...



Indiana summit studies high infant mortality rate

Channel 8 WISH November 12, 2014 


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State health officials gathering for a summit on ways to combat Indiana’s high infant mortality rate will hear from a woman whose newborn son died after sleeping in an unsafe position.


Thursday’s summit at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis will feature state, national and local leaders and experts on the causes behind infant mortality. One of the speakers will be Maura Hanke, whose first son, Charlie, died from sudden infant death syndrome in 2010 at three weeks of age...

Labor of Love Summit Focuses on Saving Infants

Indiana Dept of Health November 12, 2014


Infant Safe Sleep Practices Promoted in Pilot Project Around State

The Charleston Gazette September 11, 2014


Dos and Don'ts of Safe Sleep

Crescent News Defiance, Ohio August 1, 2014


Grieving parents work to prevent SIDS

The Columbus Dispatch July 31, 2014


Maura Hanke said she could stare into her son’s eyes for hours. During his short three weeks of life, she imagined a world for him he would never get the chance to see.


Charlie Paul went to sleep one day in his father’s arms. Samuel Hanke woke up, but Charlie didn’t. He was one of the three babies who, on average, die each week in Ohio in unsafe sleep environments.

Campaign Aimed to Reduce SIDS in Ohio

Buckeye Country 105.5 FM  July 31, 2014


Book to Be Distributed in Ohio On Ways to Save Lives of Infants 

Channel 5 WLWT July 30, 2014


Campaign Aimed to Reduce SIDS in Ohio

Buckeye Country 105.5 FM  July 31, 2014


Our Charlie Paul

Cradle Cincinnati Blog  June 13, 2014

Collier Coalition Launches New Sleeping Baby PSA

Channel 7 WZVN March 26, 2014


Medical Edge: Infant Mortality

Channel 12 WKRC   February 18, 2014

Tennessee Parents to Receive Book, Education on Safe Sleep for Infants

Tennessee Dept of Health January 10, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health is partnering with the Charlie’s Kids Foundation and Tennessee hospitals to provide teaching materials to help new parents and hospital staff members learn the “ABCs of safe sleep.” TDH will provide hospitals that join the project with copies of the Sleep Baby Safe and Snug board book for each baby born in their facility in 2014.....


Charlie's Story

UD Quickly November 21, 2013

Healing After Losing Our Son to SIDS

Cincinnati Children's Blog October 25, 2013


The Hanke Family (L to R): Maura, Sam, Charlie (pictured in frame), Annie Elizabeth, and Owen.

Of the tragedies a parent can endure, perhaps none is more heart wrenching than the sudden loss of a child.  No matter the age, the death of a child will test one’s faith to its core, and forever leave a broken heart.  Of course, sometimes such a tragedy can spur action and turn sadness into a positive force for change.

Charlie's Kids Foundation Emphasizes Safe Sleep for Infants

Soapbox Media Cincinnati October 22, 2013

Charlie's Kids Logo