Paige Wilkins is director of Healthier Moms and Babies.
Twenty four babies in Allen County over the past five years did not live to see their first birthday as a result of sleep-related deaths. Had caregivers been educated on safe sleep, those children would be learning to walk, talk and attending preschool today. During October, nationally designated as Sudden Infant Death Awareness Month, Healthier Moms and Babies reminds parents and caregivers to always practice the ABCs of Safe Sleep:
• Alone: Nothing extra in the crib, including pillows, crib bumpers and stuffed animals. Use a safe sleep blanket instead.
• Back: Always place the baby to sleep on their back in their crib or pack and play.
• Crib: Always place baby in a crib or pack and play. Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet
Often after a news release is published about our community's infant mortality rates, we receive phone calls from concerned citizens who want to do something to help. Community partners across all sectors are working together to address this multifaceted issue. I feel confident our community will see a decrease in our infant mortality rate as we work together to develop communitywide initiatives. Many causes of infant mortality are not preventable, but one is completely preventable: Unsafe sleep deaths. The 24 safe sleep-related deaths could have been prevented if more people knew and practiced the ABCs of Safe Sleep.
How can you help? Tell everyone you know about the ABCs of Safe Sleep. It can be a neighbor, friend, daughter or stranger. Once you start talking about it, you will be surprised how many people do not know the ABCs of Safe Sleep. Pinterest feeds and home makeover shows are filled with images of unsafe sleep environments – pillows and blankets and toys galore.
That's why for the month of October, the Healthier Moms and Babies Women's Philanthropy group is hosting the Flip This Crib Safe Sleep Sweepstakes. We're inviting you to #FlipThisCrib and show off your images of safe yet cute sleep environments.
If you are interested in participating in the contest or joining our Women's Philanthropy group, please visit our website or follow us on Instagram and Facebook. Together, let's start filling our social media sites with pictures representing the ABCs of Safe Sleep.
Healthier Moms and Babies' mission is to reduce infant mortality and improve pregnancy outcomes in Allen County. Healthier Moms and Babies provides the following programs: Prenatal Home Visitation Program, Nurse Family Partnership, Baby Me Tobacco Free, Cribs for Kids, and Mama Moods support group. Services are provided to low-income, at-risk pregnant women and their families.