Today ADHpurple-babyS, the Safe Sleep Task Force, and several community partners launched a new public awareness campaign to teach parents and care givers of infants about safe sleeping environments. The numbers show heartbreaking statistics. In 2013, 74 infants died suddenly and unexpectedly, often referred to as SUID—sudden unexpected infant death. The cause of death for 64 of the children occurred while the infant was sleeping in an unsafe sleeping environment.

As the mother of three young children, I know how important it is to keep your kids safe at all times. Infants should sleep alone in a crib or pack n play and be on their back. Keep stuffed animals, blankets and crib bumpers out of the crib and make sure your baby isn’t overdressed. And as tired as you might be during those late night feedings or diaper changes, please keep your infant safe by putting them back in the crib instead of in your bed. We know that in 2013, 80 percent of the unsafe sleep deaths occurred in the care of a parent, and many happened when the baby was sleeping with a parent or other sibling.

The goal of our Safe Sleep initiative is to teach parents and care givers what a safe sleep environment looks like. Starting this week you will see new billboards and hear radio public service announcements about the ABC’s of safe sleep, which stands for how your baby should always sleep: Alone on my Back in a Crib. 

We are part of the statewide Safe Sleep Task Force that is working to promote safe sleep though home visiting programs where we work directly with families, and in hospitals around the state. This morning I participated in a news conference to launch the new public awareness campaign with Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman, Rachel Perez from the March of Dimes, and Dr. Bob England, the Director of Maricopa County Health Department.

Other events are also happening around the state to help families create safe sleeping environment. On August 21 the Coconino Public Health Department will be going to the Havasupai Reservation to distribute 13 Pack N Plays to Early Head Start members and pregnant moms in the Supai Tribe community along with education about safe sleep.

I want to thank the Safe Sleep Task Force for their hard work and continued effort on this important topic. To see a digital copy of the new crib card with tips on what a safe sleep environment looks like and to learn how you can keep your kids safe, visit our new website