According to the Broward County Medical Examiner, last year 17 babies died in Broward County due to unsafe sleep environments.
Also, a recent study done in St. Louis on 119 infant deaths found 61 percent of the babies were found in a prone position, almost 80 percent had been placed on a sleep surface not designed for children, 29 percent had their face and head covered with beddings and 47 percent shared co-sleeping with parents or guardians. Only eight percent were in a non-prone position with face/head uncovered.
With those statistics in mind, the Broward County Office of the Medical Examiner and Trauma Services and Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County Inc. have joined forces to launch an educational outreach campaign to put an end to babies dying due to unsafe sleep environments.
The goal of the campaign is to educate parents and caretakers on how to place their child in a safe sleeping environment and avoid a preventable death, according to a statement from Broward County.
“Partnering with Broward County on such an important priority is key to educating our community on safe sleep practices for babies. If parents are aware of the do’s and don’ts, we can reduce the incidence of infant mortality,” Michelle Reese, executive director of the coalition, said in the statement.
Over the next six months, the campaign will spread on mass transit buses its messages such as, “Put Babies on Their Backs to Sleep.”
The messages also remind parents and people who care for infants to put babies to sleep in a crib on their backs with no toy, pillow or loose blanket.
Besides the bus advertising, the safe sleep message will be part of an Internet campaign on broward.org, will be broadcast during Broward County Commission meetings and promoted in the Governmental Center Lobby.
To create a safe sleeping environment for babies, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing the baby in a crib that has been approved by the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association, removing toys and all soft bedding from the crib, placing the baby on his or her back, never sleeping with the caretaker and placing the crib in a smoke-free area.
For more information on the safe sleep initiative, call Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County at 954-765-0550 or visit hmhbbroward.org
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