Giving Babies a Safe Place to Sleep

The DCS Safe Sleep Campaign is an initiative sponsored by the Arizona Department of Child Safety promoting safe sleep for infants.  The program seeks to educate families about the importance of observing practices which will allow children to sleep safely.

The ABCs of safe sleep provide a great guideline for parents to remember.  Babies should sleep Alone, on their Back and in a Crib.  Following these rules for children from birth to 12 months can reduce the chance of death from an unsafe sleep environment.

According to the 25th annual report of the Arizona Child Fatality Review Program, in 2017 there were 83 infants who died from unsafe sleep environments, and instances of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) were at a rate more than twice as great as drownings.  These are truly eye-opening statistics.

I applaud the team from DCS for focusing attention on this cause, and for sharing information on the Safe Sleep Campaign website (https://dcs.az.gov/services/safe-sleep).  You will find best practices, tips and even testimonials from families who have experienced tragic loss.

Arizona Helping Hands is the largest provider of basic needs to children in Arizona’s foster care system, and providing a Safe Place to Sleep is our primary mission.  We know very well the importance of having a spot of safety and comfort to lay your head at night, and we do all we can to provide a comfortable bed or crib to children in need.  Currently we distribute an average of 200+ twin beds and 75 cribs each and every month for children who would otherwise be sleeping on the floor.  The activity at our North Phoenix warehouse is seemingly never ending.  There is a constant stream of pickup trucks, SUV’s and U-Haul rentals loading up at our back door, ready to make sleep time comfortable and safe for children who have been victims of abuse and neglect.

Arizona Helping Hands is here as a resource for foster families.  Infants released from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with substance dependency issues already have so many obstacles in their way.  With a comfortable crib to sleep in from Arizona Helping Hands, and the knowledge and tools from DCS as guidelines, we take pride in knowing that these beautiful little babies will have a safe place to sleep tonight!

We can only provide cribs to so many with the support of our generous donors.  With 14,000 children in foster care today, we are always in need of additional support. A single crib package costs $200 – AND donations from new donors will be matched by a generous grant from the TW Lewis Foundation, doubling the benefit of your donation!  For more information please contact our Director of Philanthropy, Jodie Sprayberry, jsprayberry@azhelpinghands.org.  Your Helping Hands combined with ours can truly make a difference for babies (and all children) in foster care.

Dan Shufelt is the President & CEO of Arizona Helping Hands, the largest provider of basic needs to Arizona’s children in foster care. Learn more about the Organization at www.azhelpinghands.org and contact Dan at dshufelt@azhelpinghands.org

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