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SIDS program aims to save infants

POSTED: January 24, 2008 5:02 a.m.
ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR) is launching a crib matching initiative to improve Georgia’s infant mortality rate and to support healthy birth outcomes. The Crib Matching program will help reduce incidents of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by providing qualified families with safe sleep education and resources for children.
SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby under the age of one. It is the leading cause of death among infants between the ages of a month and one year old. More than 500 infants in Georgia died from SIDS between 2002 and 2005.
“We are partnering with the community and other organizations to increase awareness about infant safety during sleep time with the Crib Matching program,” said Dr. Stuart Brown, Director of the Division of Public Health. “We want to provide a separate and safe sleep environment for infants by distributing cribs to families who need them the most.”  
The agency’s Crib Matching program uses a portable pack and play type of product as a crib because they are more mobile and durable for families. DHR has about 400 such cribs available to match with participating agencies such as the Division of Family and Children Services and the Georgia Fatality Review.  
“Partnering agencies can purchase the cribs and our Crib Matching program will match 3 additional cribs for every five purchased by the agency. With this program, we have an opportunity to provide safer sleeping environments for nearly 1,000 children,” Dr. Brown said.
DHR will use the Crib Matching program to expand its ongoing public education and awareness efforts about safe sleep for infants by informing participating families about SIDS risk factors.  For example, the risk of SIDS increases when babies sleep on their tummies; when adults, children or siblings share a bed with an infant; when babies are born premature (less than 37 weeks) or have low birth weight (less than 5.5 lbs.); or when babies breathe secondhand smoke.  
Several agencies, including the Division of Family and Children Services, Healthy Families Georgia (Prevent Child Abuse Georgia), the Georgia Child Fatality Review and Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies have offered to provide SIDS education to families and distribute the cribs or to promote the Crib Matching Program as a resource for Georgia’s families. Other agencies interested in the Crib Matching program can participate by purchasing cribs and agreeing to provide SIDS and infant sleep safety education to families who will receive the cribs.
Organizations that want more information about DHR’s Crib Matching program, should contact Monica L. Barnett at (404) 463-2117 or mlbarnett@dhr.state.ga.us For information about SIDS, visit: http://health.state.ga.us/programs/sids/
 

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