BSO stresses importance of safe sleeping environments for babies

Sheriff, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition offer free cribs to families

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
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DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. - The Broward Sheriff's Office wants parents to know about the importance of safe sleep environments for babies.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel announced Thursday that the BSO, as part of its initiative to keep children safe, has partnered with the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County to offer free cribs to at-risk families in the county.

"All child deaths are tragic, but when a death is preventable, one life lost is too many," Israel said. "As first responders, we regularly go into people's homes. That means that we have the unique opportunity to provide resources and education to parents and aid in the fight to ensure that each baby in Broward County is safe."

According to the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, more than 300 children in Broward County each year die before celebrating their first birthdays.

"Over the past two years, Broward County has seen 34 sleep-related deaths, which would have been prevented if parents followed the ABC's of safe sleep," Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition Executive Director Michelle Reese said. "Babies need to be alone, on their back and in an empty crib."

Israel said deputies and fire-rescue personnel have been trained to assess homes for unsafe conditions and can provide families with child safety education, a free crib and a referral for follow-up services with the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition.

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