Keeping Babies Safe (KBS), a non-profit organization that promotes safe sleeping practices, has received $50,800 to provide safe cribs for 300 low-income families through The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.
The grant money supports “Project Safe Crib,” in which KBS purchases cribs that meet the highest safety standards and donates them to low-income families. The cribs will be brought to the families and set up by staff members at participating health and human services agencies. All families receiving cribs, as well as fitted sheets, will be educated about safe-sleep practices for their babies.
“Without the support of such generous supporters, KBS would not exist,” said Joyce Davis, president and founder of the organization, who lost her four-month-old son to a preventable play yard accident. These new cribs will help prevent infant deaths and injuries that can occur from unsafe cribs.”
The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey is an independent, endowed grant-making organization dedicated to reducing disparities in the delivery of healthcare and improving access to quality healthcare for vulnerable populations in the greater Newark area and the Jewish community of MetroWest New Jersey.
“We at The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey are all too aware that babies die needlessly in this country because they do not have safe places in which to sleep,” said Marsha Atkind, Executive Director/CEO of the Foundation. “We are proud to be partnering with Keeping Babies Safe to help prevent such tragedies from occurring in low income Newark families.”
Newark families in need of the safe cribs will be identified through the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.
Since 2007, KBS has donated more than 8,000 safe cribs nationwide.
Davis said unsafe cribs are the leading cause of death and injury among all juvenile products. In the last two years, there were 138 infant deaths associated with cribs and baby mattresses. The majority of deaths are from adding extra bedding in the crib.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there are about 20 million unsafe cribs in the United States either being used or are being stored for future use.
Through KBS, families are educated about a safe sleep environment and watch an educational video the non-profit has produced.
“Families are so grateful to receive a new crib,” Davis said. “The crib is easy to set up, safe, and is small enough to fit into a tiny apartment, a shelter or a motel room where many reside. These new cribs will decrease the number of preventable infant deaths in Newark.”
Since 2003, KBS has urged Congress to enact federal legislation requiring safe crib standards. As a result, new standards for safe cribs were included in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The law went into effect nationwide on June 28, 2011 and the name of Davis’ late son, Garret, who died as an infant due to the addition of a supplemental mattress to a portable crib, was included in the bill. All new cribs now meet important safety standards; day care centers and other public facilities cannot use cribs that do not adhere to the new standards.
Davis said a major focus of KBS is to educate new parents about the dangers of supplemental mattresses in soft-sided play yards. While such mattresses are advertised as being suitable, they can put a baby at risk of suffocation. KBS is now working to pass a federal law that would ban the sale of supplemental mattresses for play yards and create a new standard and warning labels that would prevent consumers from using supplemental mattresses with a soft sided play yard.
In addition, KBS is working to pass a state law that would require hospitals and birthing facilities to provide new parents with information on crib safety. Learn more at KeepingBabiesSafe.org
Keeping Babies Safe was founded in 2006 by Lee Baxter, Jack Walsh, and Joyce Davis. Lee Baxter (now deceased) had served as the Western Regional Director of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for 37 years. Jack Walsh, Director Emeritus of KBS, was recently honored with a prestigious award from the American Society for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM) Committee F15 on Consumer Products. ASTM International is one of the largest international standards development and delivery organizations in the world. Mr. Walsh received the award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the advancement of voluntary standards for consumer safety products.