Some parents bring a newborn into their bed with them because they are unable to afford a crib, causing a potentially life-threatening scenario. While many other parents simply believe it is just a natural loving thing to sleep with their baby, and are unaware of the dangers of co-sleeping, until it’s too late.
“The only way to put a baby to sleep safely is alone, on his or her back, and in a crib or bassinet,” said Dr. Debra Shepard, Community Pediatrician and NCH Pediatrics Department Vice Chair. “It’s so important for people to be aware of the dangers of sharing a bed with an infant, and to make sure the baby’s sleeping space is clear of things like toys, blankets, or pillows.”
There is a significant rise in infant suffocation linked to bed-sharing. Rates have quadrupled in the past 20 years, government researchers find. From 1997-2009, 70% of all accidental child deaths in Florida were due to drowning or unsafe sleep environments. For children less than 1 year of age, two–thirds of injury deaths were due to suffocation.
Currently, over 600 families in Collier County do not have a bed for their baby.
The Archangel Fund for Collier County Charities of Trinity-By-The-Cove Episcopal Church, has awarded a $5,000 grant to the Safe and Healthy Children’s Coalition of Collier County, to purchase 112 Pak n’ Play sets for babies of families in need. A Pak n’ Play set is an economical solution to provide a safe sleep environment for a newborn or an infant.
The Safe and Healthy Children’s Coalition will partner with NCH Healthcare System, Physicians Regional Healthcare System and Healthy Start of Southwest Florida to distribute the Pak n’ Play sets to families in need. One of the agencies, Healthy Start, has an in-home visiting program in which they served over 2100 pregnant women and babies in Collier County last year. “We easily identify the families in need, because we are in the home and can see who really needs help.” Cathy Timuta, Executive Director, Healthy Start of SWFL.
In addition to providing the beds, these organizations will also provide education and training on proper sleep positions and sleep environment for baby.
Throughout the month of September, which is Infant Mortality Awareness Month, agencies of the Coalition will provide educational events and resources in order to increase awareness on safe sleep practices for babies. The Coalition has arranged a special presentation on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) & Unsafe Sleep. It will be held on Thursday, September 6, 8:30am, at the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (C’mon). Two local experts will speak on this important topic: Debra Shepard, M.D., F.A.A.P., NCH Healthcare System and Harry Moreau, M.D., Neonatologist, Physicians Regional Healthcare System.
About The Safe and Healthy Children’s Coalition of Collier County
Recognizing that infant suffocation and other health and safety issues require a coordinated approach, 38 child-serving non-profit and government service providers joined efforts in the creation of The Safe and Healthy Children’s Coalition of Collier County, “the Coalition”. Over the past two years the Coalition has grown its mission: engaging local agencies to develop synergistic programs that address defined health and injury prevention issues involving children currently residing in Collier County.
To learn how you can help, visit: www.safehealthychildren.org.
To learn more about the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (C’mon), visit: www.cmon.org