Safe Sleep Baby Education: A Lifesaving InitiativeOct 04, 2023 03:26PM ● By Sacramento County News Release
The Safe Sleep Baby Education Campaign is actively working to break generational and cultural misconceptions about safe sleeping practices. Photo courtesy of Public Domain/Pixabay
Sacramento County News Release
SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - Sacramento County’s Safe Sleep Baby Education Campaign is a testament to the power of community-based initiatives. The program has made a significant impact on the lives of many families since its inception in 2014. In honor of National Baby Safety Month, Sacramento County’s Department of Child, Family and Adult Services is sharing the life-saving efforts of the Safe Sleep Baby Education Campaign and how it's reducing the prevalence of baby sleep-related deaths.
On average, 27 babies die from sleep-related deaths in Sacramento County each year. These deaths are especially prevalent among African American babies, who are three times more likely to experience infant sleep-related fatalities than their non-African American counterparts. The goal of the Safe Sleep Baby Education Campaign is to reduce infant sleep-related deaths, especially within the African American community. These heartbreaking deaths are preventable when parents are equipped with the knowledge and tools to ensure their babies sleep safely.
“Every other week in Sacramento County, an infant dies of a sleep-related death, half are African American babies. However, these are nearly all preventable when a parent understands and uses the six steps to safely sleep their baby every time the baby sleeps. Every infant sleep-related death is more than a tragic statistic; it's a deafening silence in a home, first steps that will never be taken, future laughter that will never be heard, and dreams unfulfilled. Through Safe Sleep Baby, we are not just disseminating information but reclaiming the promise of life itself for every child in our community,” says Child Abuse Prevention Center Chief Program Officer Stephanie Biegler.
The six steps Stephanie refers to are part of the program's core mission to educate parents and caregivers about safely putting a baby to sleep. Remember: Alone, Back, Crib Always when sleeping a baby. These are the six steps:
Sleep the baby ALONE; Sleep the baby on their BACK; Sleep baby in a CRIB; Put nothing in the baby’s sleep area; Do not overdress the baby; Do not smoke anything around the baby.
The Safe Sleep Baby Program does more than just provide parents and caregivers with these safety steps. Rather than simply distributing brochures, the program's model involves parents connecting with home visitors for at least an hour to go through a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation. The personal touch ensures that parents receive accurate information and have the opportunity to ask questions. The program goes above and beyond to break barriers and help families in need. If the family does not have a place to safely sleep their baby, the program can provide them with a portable crib. One new parent shared, “The Safe Sleep Baby workshop not only pertained to sleep but covered several topics that are imperative to keeping your baby safe, happy, and healthy. Reach one, teach one, is being fulfilled by Safe Sleep Baby to set a foundation for generations to come.”
Data shows that since the Safe Sleep Baby Program started, Sacramento County infant sleep-related deaths decreased by 54% among African American infants, and the disparity gap in deaths between African American infants and all other racial groups has decreased by 60%.
Safe Sleep Baby education is imperative for infants with a Sacramento County Child Protective Services (CPS) referral. From 2010-2019, the infant sleep-related death rate was nearly four times greater for infants with CPS referrals compared with those infants who had no history of CPS.
In addition to reducing deaths, the Safe Sleep Baby Education Campaign is actively working to break generational and cultural misconceptions about safe sleeping practices. Staff from the program say parents they've worked with express gratitude and feel empowered. The campaign also works with hospitals to make sure nurses and doctors are actively modeling safe sleep behaviors.
Through education, outreach, and collaboration with service providers, Sacramento County's Safe Sleep Baby Education Campaign is keeping babies safe while empowering parents and caregivers. Initiatives like this one make a lasting impact in our community. With knowledge, resources, and dedication, we can protect Sacramento County’s most vulnerable children and communities.
While most parents and guardians who participate in the Safe Sleep Baby Program are referred to the program, any parent/caregiver with an infant under the age of one in Sacramento County can take the one-hour education training. To learn more about the campaign or for assistance, contact the Information & Referral Line at (916) 244-1900. Together, we can ensure every baby in Sacramento County sleeps safely and soundly.