State Sen. Thomas H. Kean, Jr. (R-21st Dist.) will serve as honorary chair of Keeping Babies Safe’s (KBS) annual 5K run/walk at Harry Dunham Park in Basking Ridge, expecting to attract more than 1,000 participants for the USATF-certified race and family fun day on October 11.
Proceeds from the event will be used to provide safe cribs and mattresses for families who need them. In addition, funds will be used to enhance the organization’s national campaign to promote safe sleep practices and to ban any dangerous sleep products, such as supplemental mattresses, from being sold on the market.
Joyce Davis, founder of KBS, met Kean earlier this year to discuss legislation that would educate new parents about crib safety upon discharge from the hospital or birthing center. She said Kean was receptive to the proposed bill and demonstrated interest in the mission of the non-profit organization, based in Warren.
From there, she decided to ask Kean to serve as honorary chair of the annual fundraiser, which generates a large share of the funding that allows the organization to fulfill its mission. She was pleased the senator immediately jumped on board.
“As a father of two daughters, I am well aware of the need for young parents to be educated about crib safety and safe sleep practices,” Kean said. “KBS is a great resource for young families. I’m pleased such an organization exists in my legislative district, and has a national mission to protect babies. It is my honor to be involved in this fundraiser and to do what I can to ensure its success.”
KBS has developed a sponsorship package for area corporations, as well as local businesses and individuals, with a variety of options to support the 5K. Sponsorship opportunities are listed at KeepingBabiesSafe.org
Davis said that KBS has a goal of providing 750 safe cribs in New Jersey each year, based on research with social services agencies estimating the annual need among low-income families. With a well-attended fundraiser, as well as the generosity of foundations, she hopes to meet that goal in 2016. Since 2006, 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.
Since 2006, 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.
To learn more about KBS – or to become involved in the Oct. 11 fundraiser – please visit KeepingBabiesSafe.org