In years past, a heathy baby died every month due to unsafe sleep in Pinellas County. That’s changing, thanks to a life-saving campaign called Sleep Baby Safely that has cut infant sleep-related deaths in half since it launched in 2018. The Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB) and its partners created Sleep Baby Safely when data revealed that our county lost more than 100 babies from sleep-related suffocation over a 10-year period, representing six empty kindergarten classrooms.
With the recent ringing in of the New Year, it’s a chance for everyone to resolve to sleep their babies safely, and to expand this proven prevention model to other counties across the state. Thanks to the leadership and support of Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature, the Florida Department of Health secured funding in this year’s budget to do just that.
On Monday, January 30, parents gathered with their little Babies New Year, joining state and local officials to raise awareness and announce the statewide expansion of locally born Sleep Baby Safely. Dressed in the campaign’s Sleep Me This Side Up onesies, these babies represented the more than 7,000 born in Pinellas County each year. The goal is to ensure all babies can celebrate their first birthdays.
“Suffocation from unsafe sleep is the #1 cause of preventable child death, not just in Pinellas County but across the state of Florida,” stated Dr. Ulyee Choe, director of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County. His organization has been part of the campaign since the start. “It’s time to lift up Sleep Baby Safely as a promising practice so that more young lives will be saved.”
The Sleep Baby Safely campaign features consistent messaging, data-based facts and tips, and coordinated materials used by birthing hospitals, doctors’ offices, parent educators, and first responders. For example, 7,000 Welcome Baby Bags, packed with practical safe sleep items, are given to parents of newborns at Pinellas County birthing hospitals. Learn more at www.sleepbabysafely.com.
ABOUT SLEEP BABY SAFELY:
It only takes one time for a baby to sleep in an unsafe place or position to be deadly. Babies need to be protected from suffocation every time they are laid down to sleep. The Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB) and a group of concerned partners launched Sleep Baby Safely, a campaign featuring data-driven facts, consistent messages, and easy-to-remember tips for parents, caregivers, and everyone caring for babies. Learn more at www.sleepbabysafely.com. Learn and share the three tips to sleep babies safely every night and every nap:
• Follow Safe Sleep ABCs: Alone, Back, Crib. Always put babies to sleep alone on their back in an empty crib, bassinet, or Pack n’ Play. Remove all items from crib, such as blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, and bumper pads. Use only a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheet. Use a one-piece sleeper or sleep sack to keep baby warm.
• Share a Room, Not a Bed. Bring crib into parent’s room for baby’s first year room sharing keeps baby close without the risks. Never put baby to sleep on soft surfaces like adult beds, couches, futons, recliners, or air mattresses.
• Stay Alert While Feeding. Set an alarm and always return baby to crib after feeding. Breastfeed if possible it’s best for baby’s protection. Do not smoke or allow others to smoke around baby and avoid misuse of alcohol or drugs.