Safe sleep practices implemented in child care homes
Thanks to a collaborative effort to reduce Allen County’s infant mortality rate, area childcare providers are learning about the importance of safe sleep practices.
Myla Rogers, program coordinator for Early Childhood Alliance, is working with the IU School of Medicine and the St. Joe Foundation’s Prenatal & Infant Care Network to continue outreach to childcare providers, particularly in the 46803, 46805, 46806 and 46816 zip codes.
There are currently almost 1,000 children enrolled in childcare in centers and family homes in the 46806 zip code alone; that’s why it’s critical to ensure the providers and the children’s families have the information they need to help prevent infant deaths.
Through the safe sleep program, Early Childhood Alliance staff members visit providers and do the following: assess the current sleeping environment, talk about and order materials the provider may need, help set up a safe environment (sometimes providing pack-n-plays or cribs), and then follow up to ensure safe sleeping practices are continuing. They also work with providers to become Safe Sleep Ambassadors, which provides them materials to help educate parents.
One of those Ambassadors is Deondra Steward, who just recently earned her Child Development Associate Certification and operates a family childcare in the 46816 zip code.
“It’s been a blessing to be in the program,” says Steward. “It’s helped give me the information I need to keep the children safe, and it’s provided the support to help the parents I work with.” Steward goes on to say that “Many families and childcare providers in the area don’t have a lot of resources, and cribs can be expensive. Having access to safe cribs or pack-n-plays, mattresses and sheets makes a big difference.”
“Becoming an Ambassador gives them the opportunity to stand up and fight for the safety of children, as well as empower families they are working with to create safe sleep environments,” says Rogers. “It’s rewarding to see Deondra connect with other providers and share everything she has learned.”
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