Cribs for Kids program receives Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation grant

Most parents know that the safest place for a baby to sleep is alone, on their back, in a crib, but what happens when parents can’t afford to purchase a crib for their baby? What if a parent or caregiver has to decide between purchasing a crib or paying rent?

Unfortunately for many parents and caregivers these are real challenges and they may lead to risky sleep situations for babies. Parents who can’t afford to purchase a crib, Pack ‘n Play or other safe sleep surface may bring their baby into bed with them or have the baby sleep in a car seat, greatly increasing the risk of accidental suffocation or strangulation for the baby.

Southern Tier Health Care System’s Cribs for Kids program has a mission to ensure that all babies have a safe place to sleep, regardless of whether their parents and caregivers can afford to purchase a safe sleep environment. The Cribs for Kids program provides safe sleep education and free Pack ‘n Play cribs to parents and caregivers who, otherwise, wouldn’t be able to provide a safe place for their baby to sleep.

The Cribs for Kids program was established in February of 2016 as an initiative of the Child Health and Safety Team, a New York State Office of Children and Family Services funded child fatality review team.

“Our team had reviewed several infant deaths where the baby didn’t have a safe place to sleep and was sleeping with a parent instead,” said Donna Kahm, President and CEO of Southern Tier Health Care System, Inc. “We felt like we needed to do something proactive to not only educate parents, but also make it easier for them to follow safe sleep recommendations.”

Since 2016, the Cribs for Kids program has taught nearly 300 parents and caregivers about the safest way for their babies to sleep and has provided over 200 Pack ‘n Play cribs to families in need. Parents who participate in the program learn that the safest way for babies to sleep is Alone, on their Backs, in an empty Crib, the ABCs of safe sleep. Parents and caregivers consider and address any barriers that might lead to risky sleep situations and plan for keeping their baby safe while sleeping.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation’s Community Grants Program, the Cribs for Kids program is expanding to serve northern Chautauqua County.

“We believe there is an unmet need for this program in northern Chautauqua County and as a result babies are being placed unnecessarily at risk. This grant will allow us to meet this need for the community. We look forward to working with our community partners to provide this program to residents of the area,” said Mrs. Kahm.

Low-income parents or caregivers who do not have a safe place for their baby to sleep can apply for a free Pack ‘n Play by calling Southern Tier Health Care System at (716) 372-0614 and filling out an application for the Cribs for Kids program. More information about the Cribs for Kids program at Southern Tier Health Care System and safe sleep for infants can be found at http://www.sthcs.org/cribs-for-kids.html.

This grant was made possible through generous community minded-donors who have established community benefit funds at the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation (NCCF). Founded in 1986, the NCCF is committed to improving the community through the promotion of local philanthropy, strategic grantmaking and community leadership. Truly community in nature, the NCCF is an organization created by and for the people of northern Chautauqua County. For more information, visit www.nccfoundation.org or call 366-4892.

Southern Tier Health Care System is a rural health care network serving Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties. Its mission is to improve the health and wellness of our rural communities. For more information about Southern Tier Health Care System visit www.sthcs.org.

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