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Grant improves sleep safety for babies

One infant death in the Fox Cities area is one infant death too many. And, most of them are preventable. Each year, the Outagamie County Citizen Review Board provides 20-30 Pack ‘n Plays, which cost $50-$75 each, as part of its effort to eliminate infant deaths caused by unsafe sleeping environments. The Evelyn and Arthur Lierman Children’s Fund within the Community Foundation issued two grants for Pack ‘n Plays: $1,200 to Outagamie County and $3,000 to Family Services. Both of these grants help solve an ongoing need in our community and help save infant lives.

Family Services has a program called the Parent Connection Safe Sleep Initiative that educates families by spreading awareness about safe sleep practices. The program is a free and voluntary home visitation program that works with first time parents with two or more risk factors and helps educate families on safe sleep practices.

This program provides parents with the tools and resources needed to ensure their child is sleeping safely. In addition to the physical objects needed for safe sleep, Family Resource Specialists will discuss information from the Sleep Baby Safe curriculum developed by Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin at four check in points throughout the child’s first year of life.

Meaghan Coughlin is the home visiting supervisor with the Parent Connection, a part of Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, and she shared the following note with us:

This picture on the right may not look like much, but it means an awful lot to all of us here at Parent Connection.

Before receiving this grant, if we met with a family who could not afford a crib for their child, we would have to recommend that families use a laundry basket or a drawer that has been removed from the dresser as a bed for their newborn.

Thanks to your kindness, we no longer have to make that recommendation. Instead, we are able to bring a brand-new Pack and Play to families in emergent need. We are also able to remove other barriers to safe sleep by providing sleep sacks, fitted crib sheets and safe sleep books.

One family shared their child had been using the same sleep sack since coming home from the hospital. They did not have money to purchase another or launder the one they were using every day. Their home visitor was able to give them another sleep sack immediately and provide one for their little one to grow into.

We are all so grateful for your generosity! – Meaghan Coughlin


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