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New York State Proclaims May Infant Safe Sleep Month To Raise Awareness of Safe Sleep Practices for Babies

State Agencies Will Distribute 10,000 Safe Sleep Kits to Families of the Newest New Yorkers

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and New York State Department of Health (DOH) today announced that May is Infant Safe Sleep Month to promote safe sleep practices and help New Yorkers prevent infant deaths from unsafe sleep environments. As announced in the Governor’s State of the State, OCFS and DOH will provide 10,000 safe sleep kits to hospitals, local social services districts, and community-based organizations statewide to promote safe sleep education.  
 
Each year in the United Sates, nearly 3,500 infants die in unsafe sleep environments. The Governor has directed DOH and OCFS to launch the statewide public awareness campaign to spread the word about preventing such tragedies. The safe sleep kits contain information on the ABC’s of safe sleep: babies are safest Alone on their Backs in a Crib, with a book for parents and a window cling to remind caregivers of safe sleep practices. It also contains an infant sleep sack, a safe alternative to a blanket. 
 
“Every parent should know the ABC’s of safe sleep: infants sleep safest when they are Alone on their Backs in a Crib without blankets, pillows, bumpers, or stuffed animals,” said acting OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole. “Sleep-related deaths are preventable, and this campaign will give parents and other caregivers the tools and information they need to keep their babies safe.” 
 
The state is running infant safe sleep public service announcements in English and Spanish at New York State Thruway rest stops; Department of Motor Vehicles offices; Women, Infant, and Children centers; and other public settings. 
 
New York State has seen a 26% decrease in infant mortality over the past 15 years. Educational campaigns, such as this initiative, help the state build upon the success of promoting safe sleep. OCFS and DOH are working in partnership with sister state agencies including the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance and the State Education Department to inform and educate the public. 
 
“Education is our best tool in fighting the tragic consequences of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Syndrome,” said New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker. “Ensuring that families and caregivers know the basics of safe sleep practices is a key part of supporting infant health.” 
 
In addition to the safe sleep campaign, OCFS will be distributing cribs and pack and play portable cribs to family child care programs and day care centers throughout the state in the continued effort to reduce infant mortality rates due to unsafe sleep practices. For more information on safe sleep please visit: https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/prevention/infant_sleeping.asp