News Release: Department of Children and Families
TALLAHASSEE – From January to September, 128 alleged reports of babies dying due to unsafe sleep have been called in to the Florida Abuse Hotline. In an increased effort to prevent these tragedies, first responders, government agencies, state officials, community organizations and medical professionals have come together to implement The Safe Sleep Campaign.
Wakulla Fire-Rescue and Marianna Fire Department recently volunteered to serve as drop-off locations for new pack n play (portable cribs) donations. These new locations are in addition to the previously established location at the Tallahassee Fire Department. Local Healthy Starts will distribute pack n plays to families and organizations in need. The public is encouraged to donate new pack n plays to designated locations. Parents in need of a crib for their baby should not contact the donation locations, but get in touch with a community organization such as Healthy Start.
“Emergency first responders go into our community’s homes to help families in their time of need. They are also witness to these tragic unsafe sleep deaths. Through this partnership, free resources and information are brought directly to the home to encourage families to practice safe sleep,” Northwest Region Managing Director Vicki Abrams said.
Local pack n play drop-off locations now include:
320 Trice Lane
Marianna Fire Department
4425 Clinton St.
Tallahassee Fire Department, Fire Station 1
327 North Adams Street
Another way local fire, law enforcement, EMT and child welfare responders are participating in the campaign is by distributing Safe Sleep printed materials to families. Many officers are also taking free online continuing education courses provided by the campaign showing how first responders can identify unsafe sleep situations and take preventative measures.
Although many parents sometimes want to create a beautiful sleeping environment complete with soft bedding, fluffy pillows, plush stuffed animals and bumper pads, such an environment may prove dangerous to an infant not yet at an age where they are able to move their head to ensure a clear airway. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep ALONE, on their BACKS and in a CRIB. Cribs should be clear of items like blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, strings/cords, sleep positioners and bumper pads. Babies should sleep in their own cribs, as the risk of infant death is 40 times higher for babies who sleep in adult beds.
More information about the campaign is available at www.myflfamilies.com/safesleep, including videos, designated drop-off locations, free resources and a full list of partners.