Cribs for Kids National Initiative to Promote Infant Safe Sleep Practices for New Parents

Thousands of sudden, unexpected infant deaths occur each year. Research indicates the vast majority are accidental and are due to babies sleeping in unsafe sleeping environments with nearly three-fourths attributed to infants in unsafe sleep areas. The Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network (BPPN) has partnered with the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Initiative to teach parents how to create safe sleeping environments, learn safe sleeping practices. BPPN will provide free Pack ‘n Play portable cribs if parents or caregivers who cannot otherwise afford safe sleeping environments for their infants.

For more than 30 years, BPPN has provided home-based programs that promote health, successful parenting and self-sufficiency. BPPN is the only agency in Buffalo that has intensive case managers providing neighborhood, in-home outreach.

“We are proud to serve as a Cribs for Kids partner since safe sleeping options for infants is one of our core education topics and aligns with our mission of decreasing infant mortality,” said LuAnne Brown, CEO, BPPN. “We want to teach parents and caregivers that the safest way for a baby to sleep is alone, on his or her back, in a safety approved crib without bumpers, toys or blankets.

BPPN works to reduce infant mortality and low birth weight while improving healthy family planning. Its programs target at-risk populations in high-need areas of Erie County. BPPN’s significant outcomes include ensuring: 96 percent client attendance at prenatal and healthy baby visits and 50 percent reduction in the number of preterm and low birth weight infants. This saves more than $700,000 in local neonatal intensive care health care costs covered by local, state and federal social service programs.

Cribs for Kids, headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, is an international infant safe sleep education program that helps to reduce the risk of injury and death of infants due to accidental suffocation, asphyxia, or undetermined causes in unsafe sleeping environments. Since 1998, Cribs for Kids has been making an impact on reducing the rate of infant sleep-related deaths by educating and caregivers on the importance of practicing safe sleep for their babies and by providing portable cribs to families who otherwise cannot afford a safe place for their babies to sleep. All education is based on the American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines for Infant Sleep safety. There are more than 750 Cribs for Kids Partners throughout the country offering this program in their communities.

To further reduce the risk of sleep-related deaths, The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends:

  • A firm mattress, closely fitted to the sides of the crib, and a tight-fitting sheet
  • Wearable blankets in place of loose bedding
  • Remove all pillows, blankets, bumpers and toys from the crib
  • Never let baby sleep, with or without someone on a couch, or in a bed or chair
  • Maintain a smoke free home
  • Breastfeed, which has important health benefits, but returning baby to crib when finished
  • Keeping baby’s sleep area in the same room as mom and dad, but not in the same bed

The risks of an infant sleeping in an adult bed or bed sharing include:

  • Suffocation in soft bedding (pillows, thick quilts, blankets and comforters)
  • Suffocation from an adult, pet, or another child lying on baby
  • Entrapment between the bed and the wall
  • Entrapment involving the bed frame, headboard or footboard
  • Falls from the bed unto the floor or in piles of clothing, plastic bags or other soft materials, resulting in suffocation.

Questions and Answers

Q: How many infants die in Erie County due to bad sleeping habits, behaviors, environments?

A: Fifty to fifty-four percent (50-54%) of children under the age of one (1) who die unexpectedly are due to unsafe sleeping conditions.

Q: How do people apply for a crib?

A: Contact BPPN at 716-884-6711. A staff counselor will be sent out to the residence to assess the home environment.

Q: Is there criteria to apply?

A: Need based; must have no other option.

Q: How many cribs are available for Erie County?

A: The number is fluid and BPPN families receive first-priority for placement. BPPN is also applying for grants to purchase additional cribs to meet the need.

Q: How do people access the educational tools?

A: BPPN is required to provide educational tools when the agency distributes the cribs. Information can also access info at Safe to Sleep – www1.nichd.nih.gov and www.health.ny.gov.

Contact BPPN at 716-884-6711. A staff counselor will be sent out to the residence to assess the home environment.


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