Print

 

You may also go to YouTube to watch the full briefing.

Placing the safety of Westchester County’s children and families at the forefront, Westchester County Executive George Latimer launched a public awareness campaign aimed at preventing infant deaths attributed to unsafe sleeping environments. Latimer made the announcement in partnership with the Westchester County Departments of Social Services, Health, Community Mental Health and the Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD). The ABCs of Safe Sleep, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and others, explains that the safest way for babies to sleep is Alone, on their Backs and in a Crib.

Latimer said: “For any parent, the death of a child is absolutely devastating. That is why it is crucial to remember that your baby should always be sleeping alone, on his or her back and in a crib, every time you put your baby to sleep. It is our hope that by launching this safe sleep campaign, we will ultimately be saving children’s lives across Westchester County.”

DSS Commissioner Leonard Townes said: “DSS Commissioner Leonard Townes said: “The loss of any child is devastating and traumatic to a family; we all have the responsibility to care for society’s youngest and most vulnerable members. Westchester County is committed to educating the public, along with its local and State partners about the ABCs of Safe Sleep.”

Commissioner of Health Sherlita Amler, MD said: “We know that babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of SIDS than babies who sleep on their stomachs or sides. In addition to placing baby to sleep on his or her back, it is equally important that baby sleep alone in his or her crib. That means no bed sharing with adults or siblings, as well as keeping soft objects and loose bedding out of baby’s crib to reduce the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation.”

Coordinator of the Child Fatality Review Team for WIHD Lisa Syron said: “Given the importance of this campaign to help every child reach their first birthday, the CFRT is running a sister campaign to enlist the support of individuals, agencies, businesses, civic groups, houses of worship and media in educating our community about the ABCs of safe sleep throughout the year. We need every ‘trusted advisor’ in the community to join with us in making the ABCs of safe sleep as commonly practiced as wearing a seat belt.”

According to the Westchester County Department of Social Services, Westchester County has lost 24 children since 2016, who were in an unsafe sleeping environment, including five related fatalities to date in 2021. 

Westchester County has created a new flyer, offered both in English and in Spanish, to help get the word out about best practices for safe sleeping. Through a partnership with Feeding Westchester, Westchester’s premiere food bank and distribution center, the County will be distributing 15,000 flyers to those families who receive weekly donations of food. The flyer is attached here.

President and CEO of Feeding Westchester Karen C. Erren said: “Educating the community about the health and safety of our children – whether through proper nutrition or safe sleeping habits – is critical to ensure their ability to thrive in the future. We are fortunate to be able to help the County reach thousands of families every day with essential information like ‘The ABCs of Safe Sleep’ initiative through our collaborative and vast network of community partners across the County.”

The County also created a promotional video for the campaign to reinforce the significance of safe sleep practices, featuring News 12 Westchester Reporter Blaise Gomez. Watch the video to learn safe sleep practices

All parents and caregivers should use the tips listed below to keep your baby safe, and reduce the risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The flyer features the Do’s and Don’ts of Safe Sleep, along with an explanation of the ABCs of Safe Sleep:

Alone:

Back:

Crib:

For more information, please visit the County health site