By: Lanetra Bennett
December 11, 2013
Tallahassee, FL - Accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for infants under the age of one, according to child advocates.
A local organization is helping to provide safe sleeping environments.
The mother of tree-month-old Luis places him in a portable crib is all alone. But, child advocates say that's exactly how it should be -- nothing but the crib sheet and the baby, because they say the risk of infant death is 40 times higher for babies who sleep in adult beds.
Moncherious Williams has a 10-month-old and a one-year-old. She says, "At first, I didn't know anything about safe sleep. I always thought it was safe for the baby to sleep in the bed with their mom because I always seen one of my family members and one of my friends put the babies in the bed. I didn't know the baby can die in the bed with me."
Wednesday, the Capital City Kiwanis Club presented a $1,600 check to Healthy Families Florida. It will provide Pack 'N Plays for local families.
"For new moms like me, it'll be a safe sleep for the babies." Says, Williams.
State officials say as of November, 143 sleep-related infant deaths have been reported to the Florida Abuse Hotline.
They say the safest way for babies to sleep, is in their own crib or pack and play, on their back, without anything with them.
Pam Banks with Healthy Families Gadsden/Leon says, "If it's cool out, the baby can be put in a onesie. You shouldn't bundle the baby up in blankets. There shouldn't be bumper pads or stuffed animals or toys, anything, pillow. Babies don't need that."
Advocates say this can help prevent accidental suffocation or strangulation.
Officials say the check from the Kiwanis Club is the largest single donation to the statewide 'Safe Sleep Campaign.' The Florida Department of Children and Families launched the campaign in September.
News Release: Florida Department of Children and Families
TALLAHASSEE - The Capital City Kiwanis Club today provided $1,600 for Pack ‘N Plays to Healthy Families Florida in partnership with the Florida Department of Children and Families’ Safe Sleep Campaign. The Pack ‘N Plays will help provide safe sleeping environments for infants in an effort to prevent tragic, accidental deaths. The funds are the first large donation for the Florida Safe Sleep Campaign. As of November, 143 alleged sleep-related infant deaths have been reported to the Florida Abuse Hotline statewide.
“The Capital City Kiwanis Club is proud to partner with Healthy Families Florida and to join DCF’s Safe Sleep campaign. We felt compelled to get involved because accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for infants under age one,” Kiwanis Club President Bob Henderson said.
Healthy Families and Kiwanis share a strong mutual commitment to investing in the critical years from birth through age five that lay the foundation for healthy child development and future success. For more than 55 years, the Capital City Kiwanis Club has been working to make Tallahassee a better place to live and work by providing services which are beyond the scope of government. Healthy Families Florida, a home visiting program proven to prevent child abuse and neglect, is funded by the Florida Legislature and administered by the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida in partnership with DCF.
“We are so grateful to the Capital City Kiwanis Club for raising the funds to help families provide a safe sleep environment for their babies. Safe infant sleep is one of the prevention education topics we address with families during home visits. This donation helps Healthy Families meet a critical need for families who have very little income and just can’t afford to purchase a safe crib, “said local Healthy Families Program Manager Pam Banks.
The statewide Safe Sleep Campaign was launched in September 2013 in an effort to bring together local and statewide organizations, first responders, businesses and government officials to decrease sleep related infant deaths. The initiative includes online training, free resources, PSAs, events, social media outreach and more.
“Sleep-related infant deaths are so tragic and can be prevented,” DCF Child Protection Investigator Necia Little said. “We are honored to partner with Capital City Kiwanis Club and Healthy Families to provide much-needed safe sleep resources to local families.”
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 animals, 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.
For more safe sleep information, free resources, video PSAs and an
interview with a mother impacted by unsafe sleep, visit