October is Safe Sleep Month!

Governor Doug Ducey has declared October to be SAFE SLEEP AWARENESS MONTH. In the Proclamation, it was declared that 83 Arizona infants died due to unsafe sleep in 2017. It is incredibly sad that so many little lives have been lost.

Among the additional details shared, it states that 60% of those infants died due to suffocation while co-sleeping or bed sharing. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to share their room, not their bed, and a simple conversation about safe sleep could save a life.

The ABC’s of infant sleep safety promote that babies sleep Alone, on their Back in a Crib. Lives can be saved by following these simple steps.

Arizona Helping Hands’ primary mission ties in perfectly with the Governor’s proclamation. We provide children in foster care throughout the State of Arizona with a Safe Place to Sleep. Foster families arrive at our doors every day to receive brand new twin beds and cribs for their children to sleep in tonight.

Since beginning this program in 2013, we have experienced exponential growth in services to Arizona’s boys and girls. In 2018 alone, 751 babies received a brand new crib from Arizona Helping Hands, a tally which has already been exceeded in 2019. Each of these precious little ones have begun their life with challenges – most of them addicted to substances, born with poisons in their systems, struggling to thrive. They have a chance, thanks in part to having their own safe place, their own crib. As we load the cribs into vehicles and trucks to take home, we remind the families of those important ABCs, and spread the important message of safe sleep.

Safe Sleep is also a part of our twin bed program. We provided little Tommy with his very first “big boy bed”, and Sonora with a bed to use as she moves into her own apartment, beginning life as a young adult after exiting foster care. Think about the importance of a bed, a spot of safety – a place to lay down your head and take refuge from all of the turmoil to which these children have been subjected.

Arizona Helping Hands is here to help the foster parents – both licensed and kinship, to create a safe place for children who have been abused and neglected. Our mission is to provide essential needs for Arizona’s children in foster care through our programs promoting safety, permanency and health. A Safe Place to Sleep is the most important part of our services, and knowing that we have made an important impact in the lives of so many boys and girls is extremely gratifying.

Thank you, Governor Ducey, for bringing attention to this important issue, and thank you to the donors and supporters of Arizona Helping Hands who allow us to fill this truly essential need for children throughout the State of Arizona.

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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