In Calhoun County, 18.4% of infant deaths from 2009-2013 were due to suffocation or asphyxiation. Prevention of sleep-related infant deaths from asphyxia or suffocation is the focus of the Infant Safe Sleep Coalition efforts. These deaths are considered to be 100% preventable. Our goal is for every baby to sleep in safe environment.
We believe we can make a difference for babies’ survival by providing the community with the knowledge, skills, and resources to protect babies while they sleep. We want to include parents, caregivers, healthcare providers, and childcare providers in teaching and modeling safe sleep practices.
The Born to Sleep Safe Initiative continues to give the consistent message on what steps to take with your infant to ensure they have a safe sleep environment. Research shows the safest placement for baby is always on their back in a crib/Pack-n-Play when sleeping. The crib/Pack-n-Play should have a firm surface with a tight-fitting sheet and there should not be any loose bedding, blankets, toys, stuffed animals, bumper pads, etc. with the baby.
In one effort to reach our goal, the Kalamazoo Chapter of the American Sewing Guild, Grace Health, and several community volunteers are partnering to provide infant safe sleepers to 200 infants this year.
The Kalamazoo Chapter of American Sewing Guild nominated and Grace Health supported the George Award nomination of Mary Embury and Agnes Sekrecki. These two women were awarded the George Award for their community gifts that they have made over the years for our youngest community members, knitted infant hats and hand-sewn infant safe sleepers.
Unfortunately, some babies do not have a safe place to sleep due to limited financial resources. To help provide for these families, the Infant Safe Sleep Coalition has a Pack-n-Play distribution program for those who may not be able to afford a crib/Pack-n-Play. Through the program, we are able to provide a safe place for babies to sleep, provide the parents and/or caregivers with education on safe sleep practices, and encourage them to adhere to these practices. Families who are in need of a Pack-n-Play should call 2-1-1 to see if they qualify.