In 2015, 765 infants in the state of Michigan never reached their first birthday
In honor of Mother’s Day and to combat infant mortality and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) deaths in Michigan, the C.A.R.E. (Concerned About Reaching Everyone) will host “No Baby Left Behind” SIDS Risk Reduction Workshop and crib giveaway on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 10 a.m. to noon at the City of Detroit Health Department, 55 West Seven Mile Rd., in Detroit.
The goal of C.A.R.E., along with the Detroit Health Department, CJ First Candle, Delta Children and the Global Infant Safe Sleep (GISS) Center, is to give away 100 cribs to families in the tri-county area. The workshop teaches expecting mothers and other caregivers how to properly position the baby — on their back — for sleep and to provide a safe sleep environment. At the end of the workshop, the participants will receive a portable crib and a Certificate of Completion. Since November 2016, the organization has educated more than 200 pregnant women and their families — fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers — and provided more than 85 free portable cribs.
Infant mortality is considered a basic measure of public health for countries around the world. Michigan, at 6.8 per 1,000 infant deaths, ranked below the national average of 5.9 in 2016.
“This workshop is for anyone who’s part of a baby’s life and want to help our babies reach their first birthday,” said Bishop Reginald J. Bluestein, Assistant Executive Director, C.A.R.E. Bishop Bluestein and his wife, Kimberly, who is the executive director, started the organization by holding its first workshop at the Household of Faith Church at 12545 Linwood Ave. in Detroit. The couple was determined to make a change after Bishop Bluestein delivered the sermon for the funeral of a one-year old child. But he wanted the organization to reach out to families in his community and beyond.
“We want to bring together the many non-profit organizations, crossing county lines, to work together and share resources to combat this problem.”
The organization has been working with the city of Detroit Health Department, which provides the safe sleep training, since November. The crib giveaway is a collaborative effort between C.A.R.E., CJ First Candle, Delta Children and the Global Infant Safe Sleep (GISS) Center. Other partners include Evenflo, which promotes the benefits of breastfeeding, Sam’s Club, Focus Hope, Bed Bath and Beyond, BuyBuyBaby, Staples, Nia Purpose4Life, Maternal Infant Health Care Providers, PEACE, Household of Faith, State of Michigan SIDS Reduction Program, Happy Youth, Bridging Communities, YMCA, and The Detroit Health Authority.
According to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, for every 1,000 Michigan live births, almost seven infants die before reaching their first birthday. In 2015, 765 infants under the age of one year died, resulting in an infant mortality rate of 6.8 per 1,000 live births. In addition, 11.6% infants died due to accidents; 9.5% of all infant deaths were due to accidental suffocation in bed.
“Too many babies are dying,” said Stacy Scott, PhD, executive director, Global Infant Safe Sleep Center. “There are protective measures parents and caregivers can take to reduce the risk of this happening to their baby and we want to get that message out here in metro Detroit and Michigan.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents and caregivers follow these guidelines:
- Babies should always sleep on their backs, at nighttime and naptime. Tummy and side sleeping are not safe.
- Use a safety approved crib with a firm mattress and a tight-fitting sheet for sleep. Room share with your baby by making sure their crib is placed near your bed for at least the first 6 months.
- Do not share a bed or couch with your baby. Make sure your baby has its own separate sleep space. Never let your baby sleep on soft surfaces such as adult beds, water beds, sofas, chairs, comforters and sheepskins.
- Keep all soft bedding out of your baby’s crib. This includes loose bedding, stuffed animals and bumper pads.
- Avoid overheating. Dress your baby like you would dress and keep the room temperature comfortable, not too warm.
- Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care.
- Do not smoke during or after your pregnancy and avoid exposure to second hand smoke. These put your baby at a greater risk of dying from SIDS.
- Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.
- Breastfeeding is recommended.
- Use a pacifier at naptime and nighttime after breastfeeding has been established.
- Do not use commercial devises marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS such as wedges and positioners. None have been proven safe or effective.