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Health Department has pack n’ plays for infants

Helping babies sleep safely

The Lawrence County Health Department is offering expectant and new mothers a free pack n’ play for their child to have a safe place to sleep.

“We have about 25 of them available,” said Cindy Spence, who works for Mature Services is helping with the program.

The pack n’ plays are being given out as part of a state grant in an effort to prevent infant deaths.

According to state statistics, three infants in Ohio die of sleep-related incidents. Some of those cases are Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, some are accidental suffocations where someone rolls on top of them or the baby rolls off the bed.

The pack n’ plays are part of the health department’s safe sleep campaign and got a state Maternal Child Health Grant. They partnered with Cribs for Kids and were able get pack n’ plays for parents who don’t otherwise have a place for their baby to sleep.

The criteria for providing pack n’ plays is the baby has to be between newborn and 12 months of age or the mom has to be in her third trimester of pregnancy.

Spence said the mothers have to have either a medical card or Women and Infant Children program. Although they don’t have to be enrolled in that program, the health department follows the same income guidelines.

To apply for the pack n’ play, call 740-532-3962. The health department will determine need and then set up an appointment at the health department office. There is a video to watch and they will show the proper way to set up the pack n’ play.

Although the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, research shows the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death can be reduced by putting babies on their backs to sleep for naps and at night. The infant should sleep on a firm surface like a mattress a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.

Parents should share a room with their baby, but not their bed. Infants should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone.  Keep soft objects, such as pillows and loose bedding, out of baby’s sleep area.

Mothers should not smoke during pregnancy or around the baby, because these are strong risk factors for SIDS. The risk of SIDS is even greater when a baby shares a bed with a smoker.

The Lawrence County Health Department is located at 2122 South 8th Street in Ironton.