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Kent Co. Safe Sleep Program sees reduction in infant sleeping deaths

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A concentrated effort by agencies across Kent County to get out the message out on the ABC’s of safe sleep is credited with the improvement

“On average in Kent County we lose about 5.7 infants for every 100,000 live births due to unsafe sleep.”

Renee Dunwell co-runs the Safe Sleep Program and says in the last three years, those numbers have gone down significantly. She credits a concentrated effort by agencies across Kent County to get out the message on the ABC’s of safe sleep. But not all families adhere to those best practices.

“We have people who chose to co-sleep because that’s part of their culture or that’s just their personal choice and we have instances where mom or dad just falls asleep with baby.”

Recognizing that, Dunwell says its important professionals have open, non-judgmental conversations with families about reducing risks of co-sleeping. The Safe Sleep Program now partners with police, fire and ambulance crews who may go into homes infant health care workers can’t reach, and have the opportunity to educate families on safer sleep practices.

“To not only spread the messaging but also make sure we’re connecting people with resources they may need like pack-n-plays or sleep sacks, different things that might help.”

Parents interested in information on safe sleep can talk to their pediatricians or contact the Health Department’s Safe Sleep Program directly.

“These are preventable. There’s things we can do to stop this from happening and we’d like to get that message out there and see these numbers decrease even further.

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