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For immediate release: January 28, 2016
Contact: Monica Mahaffey
Phone: 518-402-3130

New York State Office of Children and Family Services Giving Away More Than 1,700 Free Cribs to Help Parents Keep New York's Newest Citizens Safe

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) is giving free pack-and-play cribs to hundreds of low-income families in Upstate New York as part of the state’s multi-agency Safe Sleep for Babies campaign, which seeks to educate parents on preventing sleep-related deaths among infants. Tragically, unsafe sleep is a factor in about half of the deaths of children under one year of age that OCFS encounters in New York State each year.

“All new parents should know the ABCs of safe sleep: that babies are safest when they sleep Alone, on their Backs, in a safety-approved Crib,” OCFS Acting Commissioner Sheila Poole said. “For parents who cannot afford a safe crib, this program can be a lifesaver. County social services departments, voluntary agencies and state-funded parenting programs can request the cribs on behalf of the parents who need them to keep their babies safe.”

Each crib will come with informational materials reminding parents and their child’s caregivers of the dangers of unsafe sleep. Babies can suffocate because of blankets, bumpers, and toys in cribs; co-sleeping with parents or other children; sleeping on unsafe surfaces; or sleeping on their stomachs.

OCFS is part of the NYS Department of Health (DOH)-led Infant Mortality Reduction Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN), which provides safe sleep education.

“Every year, approximately 90 babies in New York die from sleep-related causes,” said DOH Commissioner Howard A. Zucker, M.D. “These tragic fatalities are preventable, and we are working to give parents the tools and information they need to keep their babies safe.”

OCFS has given away nearly 4,000 cribs over the past three years. The initiative is funded through the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect.

About OCFS
OCFS serves New York by promoting the safety, permanency and well-being of children, families, and communities. OCFS maintains an active social media presence. “Like” the New York State Office of Children and Family Services Facebook page and follow @NYSOCFS on Twitter in English or the Spanish-language Twitter account, @NYSOCFS Espanol.