A local hospital is first in the county to receive a reward for helping to keep babies safe in their cribs.

Dignity Health Memorial Hospital was certified as a safe sleeping hospital by the non-profit Cribs for Kids. The group awarded Dignity Health its highest award for the hospital’s work to educate parents on safe sleeping.

Newborns can die in their sleep if they are not put to bed properly.

Dr. Madhu Bhogal says in Kern County, raising awareness has helped save babies.

“We want to reduce it to zero but so far like I said we have reduced it by 66% from 1980, but we want to continue doing that,” Bhogal said.

A new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found most parents still do not follow the guidelines for safe sleeping, but advice from doctors played an important role when they did.

Experts say: Babies should be placed on their backs, on a firm surface like a crib or a bassinet, with no loose bedding or soft object in the crib.