Safe Kids Upstate a Model for International Organization



Greenville Journal

Network’s president visits to learn about local programs

In a state where the child injury and death rate continues to be higher than the national average, Safe Kids Upstate has been working for nearly two decades to reduce accidental injury to children.

On its 15th anniversary, the organization reduced the injury rate in its three-county service area by 25 percent, said manager Cynthia Fryer. It’s this progress that has caught the attention of Safe Kids Worldwide.

Safe Kids Worldwide’s president and CEO Kate Carr recently visited the Upstate to speak at the Safe Kids Upstate annual luncheon, but also to learn about the local affiliate’s model programs.

“The South Carolina Upstate coalition is one of our best in the country,” said Carr. She added that she is particularly interested in learning about local programs that are “functioning exceptionally well.”

One of those is the Upstate’s Cribs for Kids and safe sleep program, which offers portable cribs to families to encourage safe sleeping for infants. The Safe Kids Upstate program has distributed more than 1,100 portable cribs to help prevent suffocation deaths in infants younger than 1 year, Fryer said.

“Death from suffocation is the number one cause of children under the age of 1 dying of preventable injuries,” said Carr. “The program here is already recognized as a best practice. We want to take what we’ve learned here and use it in the expansion of our national program.”
Safe Kids Upstate serves Greenville, Pickens and Oconee counties and works to prevent accidental childhood injury through Cribs for Kids, fire safety, school and pedestrian safety, bicycle safety education and helmet distribution, along with proper vehicle restraint. Safe Kids Spartanburg also offers similar programs, including the Cribs for Kids.

One simple and innovative program is the life jacket loan system that was established in March 2012 at Lake Keowee, Fryer said. Boaters can borrow life jackets in varying sizes from a board at three different locations. There are also plans to expand the program to Lake Hartwell, she said.

Carr said she’s also very interested in the Upstate’s safe school program where “kids are mentored and become the safety experts within their schools. I think it’s tremendous.”

She said she considers the program “a model of something we could expand around the United States.”
“The thing about the work that we do, there’s a problem and there’s usually a solution. We just have to make the connection for people that they won’t have this problem if they use this solution,” Carr said.

“The issue in injury prevention is educating parents, children, families and caregivers about things you can do to make sure that your child can grow up to do the things that a child is meant to do … and have fun.”  Injury prevention also makes fiscal sense because healthcare visits, therapy and time lost at work can be avoided, she said.

Fryer said her organization is proud of its accomplishments, including no child deaths related to improper vehicle restraint in the last three years. About Carr’s interest, she said, “It’s nice that someone on that level recognizes the work that you do.”

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Cribs for Kids® Partners with NYC Health Dept. in Aftermath of Hurricane

BMIRH staff, Amber Ahmad-Baker and Haywood Stephney, at the Gotham loading dock with DOHMH drivers getting ready to leave Gotham to deliver the cribs to shelters.

PARTNER NEWS - NEW YORK CITY, NY  – This week the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) organized an emergency relief mission in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to help distribute portable cribs to families with infants in hurricane shelters, ensuring that babies in disaster areas in New York would still have a safe place to sleep through the hurricane recovery process.  Through their partnership with Cribs for Kids® National Infant Safe Sleep Initiative, NYC Health Department representatives were able to distribute Graco Pack N Play portable cribs, fitted sheets, Halo Safe Sleep Sacks, and fact sheets on infant/child safety, so that parents and caregivers would have information on safe sleep practices as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  “This was a true team effort and one more example of our public/private partnership” said Deborah Kaplan, Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health at the NYC Department of Health.

The Fund for Public Health in New York (FPHNY) facilitated immediate processing of the cribs and Cribs for Kids arranged overnight shipment of the supplies from its warehouse in Pittsburgh to Queens, NY.   DOHMH staff  identified shelters with infants and the number of infants at each site, the DOHMH Logistics team arranged transportation, Jo-Ellen Brannigan, NFP Nurse Supervisor at Richmond Home Services in Staten Island, and DOHMH Bureau of Maternal Infant and Reproductive
Health (BMIRH) staff pulled it all together, including Nurse-Family Partnership and Newborn Home Visiting staff going out to the shelters to distribute the cribs and provide safe sleep education.

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York Hospital pediatrician spreads safe sleep message

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is preventable, Dr. Michael Goodstein says.

For the Daily Record/Sunday News
Updated:   11/07/2012 12:37:44 AM EST

York, PA -  Michael Goodstein said he wants people to pay attention to “a terrible silent epidemic.” Too many babies die — locally and across the country — because of unsafe sleeping conditions, he said.

Goodstein has been an attending neonatologist for more than 18 years at York Hospital for the Wellspan Medical Group. He’s a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force On Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and Goodstein is an expert on infant sleep safety issues, including education provided to new parents before they take their baby home.

“We have babies dying … every year,” he said. Many of those deaths, he said, could have been prevented.

SIDS — an infant’s unexpected demise that remains unexplained after an autopsy, review of the baby’s medical history and
examination of place of death are performed — has been associated with unsafe sleep practices. A baby is at risk for SIDS when it sleeps on its stomach, on its side, on soft bedding, is in an environment that includes cigarette smoke or is overheated, he said.

Many studies show that in up to 90 percent of SIDS cases, the infant was found in an unsafe position. SIDS is one of the causes of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death, which kills about 4,500 infants in the United States per year.

Other causes of SUID include accidental suffocation, poisoning, metabolic disorders and neglect, Goodstein said.

“There’s been such a tremendous increase,” he said. Rates of accidental suffocation and strangulation for babies in bed have increased 30 percent in the last decade.

Goodstein established the York County Cribs for Kids Program and has been its director since 2003. The group developed the Infant Safe Sleep Initiative in 2008. The following year, the AAP gave Goodstein a Special Achievement Award.

Last month, Goodstein presented infant safe sleep research findings at an AAP national convention in New Orleans.

“There are all these things we can do in terms of education,” he said of teaching people right and wrong ways to put an infant to sleep.

Babies can become entrapped between the bed and wall, bed frame, headboard or footboard when they sleep with an adult or child.

An infant should sleep on its back in the same room but not the same sleep surface as its caretaker.

A baby can also fall off an adult bed onto items such as pillows, thick quilts and comforters that cause suffocation.

Goodstein highlighted the “ABC’s” of safe sleeping.  “Alone, on the back, in the crib and no smoking,” he said and talked of
efforts to “get the message out.”

Goodstein said the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development recently kicked off its new “Safe To Sleep” campaign, which updates the “Back To
Sleep” program that started in 1994.

Roughly 30,000 children are alive today because of the BTS campaign,
Goodstein said.

“I think we’re making progress,” he said.

The latest program does not change BTS recommendations. It expands on them
and updates research in the field, he said.

Every few years, experts review the programs to help parents make the best
decisions possible for keeping their babies safe, he said.

Jonathan Liss, director of York Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit,
addressed the importance of Goodstein’s research.

“We know that a safe sleep environment and safe sleep practices decrease the
incidences of sudden infant death,” he said.

SIDS Facts

— SIDS is the leading cause of infant death between 1 month and 1 year of age.

— African-American babies are twice as likely to die of SIDS than white babies.

— Most SIDS deaths occur when the baby is between 2 and 4 months old.

— SIDS is not contagious, hereditary, brought on by child abuse, vomiting, choking or illnesses including colds or infections. It is not caused by immunizations against diseases such as diphtheria, pertussis or tetanus.

To reduce the risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation

— Infants should sleep on their backs on a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib without soft bedding, bumpers, pillows, comforters or toys.

— Keep the baby’s sleep area near, but separate from where parents sleep.

— Dress the infant in sleep clothes or a wearable blanket. If needed, one light cover, tucked securely at the bottom and sides of the crib, is a safe alternative.

— Never let an infant sleep in a bed or chair with someone who is smoking, tired, ill or overweight.

— Breastfeeding has important health benefits for babies and is protective against SIDS.

Sources: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention;

Cribs for Kids®

The Cribs for Kids® program, which was created to reduce infant deaths by providing an appropriate sleep environment through education and safe cribs, has expanded to over 350 locations in all U.S. states with more than 50 counties in Pennsylvania that participate.

York County Cribs For Kids, developed in 2003, helped over 1,600 families create a safe sleep environment.

Learn more:

York County Cribs for Kids 717-812-7427 or 717-81-CRIBS

Adams County Cribs for Kids 717-337-0110

Read the Pennsylvania 2012 Child Death Review Annual Report: Deaths Reviewed in 2011 at

Link to Original Story at :

Mayor Barrett, Health Commissioner visit churches to talk safe sleep

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and City of Milwaukee Commissioner of Health Bevan Baker spoke at several Milwaukee churches Sunday, October 14th for the “Safe Sleep Sabbath.” The event is meant to raise awareness of unsafe sleeping conditions for babies.

From 2009-2011, there were more than 520 stillbirths and infant deaths in Milwaukee. For every 1,000 births, 10 infants died. Black infants were three times more likely to die than white infants. A substantial portion of these infant deaths and stillbirths were preventable, including those with risk factors for unsafe sleep.

“There are some neighborhoods in the city where the infant mortality rates are comparable to those rates in third world countries. That’s not acceptable to me as mayor and we’re going to do everything we can to lower that,” Mayor Barrett said.

Sunday, Mayor Barrett and Baker hoped to spread the message of the importance of health for expectant mothers as well as safe sleeping conditions for infants and babies.

“We’re looking at issues like prematurity, access to health care, appropriate diet, making sure that women don’t get close to smoke, second-hand smoke included,” Mayor Barrett said.

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Cribs for Kids® Receives CPSC Award

CPSC Announces Chairman’s Commendation Award Recipients

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today the recipients of the 2nd annual Chairman’s Commendation Awards.  Four nominees were chosen for their significant contributions to consumer product safety.

The Chairman’s Commendation Award was created by CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum in 2011 to identify and honor people, organizations, businesses, state and local governments and other groups who have worked to reduce deaths, prevent injuries
and improve consumer product safety.

“These individuals deserve to be recognized for their hard work to advance consumer product safety. They have saved countless numbers of lives through their advocacy, working to educate parents and industry, making toys safer with better labeling and safe cribs available to families who couldn’t afford one,” said Chairman Tenenbaum.

This year’s recipients of the Chairman’s Commendation Award are:

  • Judith Bannon, Cribs for Kids® – Judith Bannon is the Executive Director of Cribs for Kids®, a national infant safe sleep initiative that she started in 1998. Cribs for Kids®, is a national network of partners that has provided more than 130,000 free, safe cribs to high-risk, low-income families who cannot afford one, and educates caregivers about the dangers of unsafe sleep environments.
  • Dr. Ik-Whan Kwon, St. Louis University’s Center for Supply Chain Management Studies – In 2009, the Center for Supply Chain Management Studies became the first to offer university-level product safety courses for product safety professionals within industry. Dr. Ik-Whan Kwon, the director of the Center for Supply Chain Management Studies, has led the program since its start and has earned the title of product safety ‘patron’ at the school. This year, U.S. News and World Report recognized the Center for the quality of its programs in the supply chain field.
  • Stephen Teret, JD, MPH, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health – Stephen Teret is a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School and is a pioneer in the field of public
    health law. He is a widely- acclaimed national leader in product safety, injury and violence prevention and food policy. Teret founded the school’s Center for Law and the Public’s Health and has served as its director since 2000. His advocacy work led to more effective warning labels on toys with choking hazards.  He has written numerous articles and books on injury prevention and consumer product safety.
  • Rachel Weintraub, Consumer Federation of America – Rachel Weintraub is the Director of Product Safety and Senior Counsel for the Consumer Federation of America. She led a coalition of consumer, public health and public interest groups that worked with Congress on consumer product safety reform. This resulted in a new law, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, that requires strong mandatory standards for many infant nursery products, including cribs, lower levels of lead and phthalates in toys and requires independent third party testing of children’s products.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals – contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, go online to:, call CPSC’s Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054 for the hearing and speech impaired. Consumers can obtain this news release and product safety information at To join a free e-mail subscription list, please go to

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NIH expands safe infant sleep outreach effort

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute ofChild Health andHuman Development (NICHD)

For Immediate Release – Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Contact: Robert Bock or Marianne Glass Miller 301-496-5133

‘Safe to sleep’ seeks to reduce risk of  sleep-related infant death

The U.S. national campaign to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome has entered a new phase and will now encompass all sleep-related, sudden unexpected infant deaths, officials of the National Institutes of Health announced today.

The  campaign, which has been known as the Back to Sleep Campaign, has been renamed  the Safe to Sleep Campaign.

The  NIH-led Back to Sleep Campaign began in 1994, to educate parents, caregivers,  and health care providers about ways to reduce the risk of sudden infant death  syndrome (SIDS). The campaign name was derived from the recommendation to  place healthy infants on their backs to sleep, a practice proven to reduce SIDS  risk. SIDS is the sudden death of an infant under 1 year of age that cannot be  explained, even after a complete death scene investigation, autopsy, and review  of the infant’s health history. Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID)  includes all unexpected infant deaths: those due to SIDS, and as well as those  from other causes.

Many SUID cases are due to such causes as accidental suffocation and entrapment, such as when an infant gets trapped between a mattress and a wall, or when bedding material presses on or wraps around an infant’s neck.  In addition to stressing the placement of infants on their backs for all sleep times, the Safe to Sleep Campaign emphasizes other ways to provide a safe sleep environment for infants.  This includes placing infants to sleep in their own safe sleep environment and not on an adult bed, without any soft bedding such as blankets or quilts. Safe to Sleep also emphasizes breast feeding infants when possible, which has been associated with reduced SIDS risk, and eliminating such risks to infant health as overheating, exposure to tobacco smoke, and a mother’s use of alcohol and illicit drugs.

“In recent years, we’ve learned that many of the risk factors for SIDS are similar to those for other sleep-related causes of infant death,” said Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the NIH institute which sponsors Safe to Sleep.  “Placing infants on their backs to sleep and providing them with a safe sleep environment for every sleep time reduces the risk for SIDS as well as death from other causes, such as suffocation.”

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Lufkin woman, 37, sentenced for co-sleeping…

Lufkin woman, 37, is sentenced to 119 months in prison for co-sleeping…

Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2012 1:54 pm
Updated: 10:33 am, Fri Aug 24, 2012.           

By JESSICA COOLEY/The Lufkin NewsThe Lufkin News

A Lufkin mother on Thursday was sentenced to one month shy of 10 years in prison in connection with the July 2010 co-sleeping death of her 4-month-old son.

Baby Tristan was Vanessa Clark’s second child to die while sharing a king-sized bed with her and her husband Mark. Following the 2009 death of 1-month-old Christian, which was ruled Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Child Protective Services advised the couple not to share their bed with any future children, according to previous reports.

Vanessa Clark

ANDY ADAMS/The Lufkin NewsVanessa Clark, 37, hugs a family member after being sentenced by state District Judge Paul White to serve 119 months in prison on the charge of child endangerment for the July 2010 co-sleeping death of her infant son.

For the first time since the case began, Clark took the stand in her own defense Thursday, claiming it was never her intention to fall asleep with the baby in the bed. She went on to say that being up all hours of the night with a newborn while continuing to care for the couple’s 3-year-old was exhausting.

“I fell asleep. It was not intentional,” Clark said. “He has to fall asleep beside me. Once I put him in the bassinet, he woke back up and I put him back in bed with me. I had no idea I was going to fall asleep.”

Clark’s husband was tried on the same charge in May, but a jury found him not guilty. Prosecutor Dale Summa put Mark Clark on the stand Thursday, questioning him about his wife’s judgment on the night in question.

“You told your wife to place the baby in the bassinet. Is that true?” Summa asked.

“Yes. Before I fell asleep, he was in the bed,” he said.

Summa went on to question Mark Clark about his wife’s treatment of their 3-year-old at the time their infant died. After answering “she was hard on him, but nothing serious,” Mark Clark called upon his attorney Bill Agnew for a private discussion.

Agnew then announced his client wished to invoke his spousal privilege to prevent him from testifying against his wife.

“He only wants to testify about what he legally has to and nothing else,” Agnew said.

Summa went on to question Mark Clark about the couple’s home life, going back to the night in question and his wife’s prescription drug addiction.

“When you’re a mother, you’re going to stay up half the night taking care of the baby. I’m not going to say the medication did it,” he said.

After hearing from a few of Clark’s family members, her attorney, John Reeves, called her to stand to address her previous criminal history, the five years she spent in prison and her oldest son, who has been raised by her grandparents.

“I’m not the person I used to be. Prison changed me,” she said. “Please don’t take me away from my children. My son starts school Monday and I would like to be there for that.”

In cross examination, Summa asked Clark about her tanning while she was pregnant with baby Tristan.

“How important was it for you to get that tan?” Summa asked Clark.

“It wasn’t vital. Just something cosmetic. I didn’t have to have it,” she said. “My doctor told me it was OK after my third month.”

“And who was that?” Summa asked.

“I can’t recall because I saw so many doctors,” she said.

All of the testimony was completed around 1:30 p.m. Because of a previous aggravated assault conviction, Clark’s child endangerment charge was enhanced from a state jail felony to a third-degree felony.

Given all the facts of the case, White was then faced with deciding whether Clark merited probation or spending up to 10 years in prison. Clark stood, trembling, as White announced her sentence — 119 months in prison. She immediately began sobbing as her husband clasped his head in his hands crying.

White told Clark the case is about more than just co-sleeping, bringing attention to her abuse of Xanax and hydrocodone.

“I may be painted as a home wrecker, but you had the capacity of doing that on your own,” White said. “Understand this is not about the illegality of co-sleeping, it is about a number of factors you had in your life. Unlike you, I cannot ignore the prior episode.”

He went on to tell Clark that her sentence — 9 years and 11 months — means she will be eligible for bond upon filing an appeal because he had the foresight to sentence her one month shy of 10 years in prison.

“If you walk away with an appeal bond, are you going to make a media exploitation of this?” he asked her. “Do you know what I mean?”

“Yes, get on national TV,” she said, shaking her head.

In May, Clark and her husband appeared on Inside Edition to talk about the case.

“I have sympathy and empathy for anyone who loses a child,” White said, “but my concern for children always trumps that of an adult.”

With his wife put in the custody of Angelina County, Mark Clark said they will likely hire their own attorney on the appeal to get her out of jail as quickly as possible on a $10,000 bond.

Jessica Cooley’s email address is

Original Story found on The Lufkin News website:

Bed-sharing with Infants is Linked to Their Deaths

Tired mothers or fathers place a baby on a bed or couch with them, or nestle the baby on their chest, and then fall asleep. As they sleep the baby tangles in the bedding, or rolls face-down into a mattress, or gets wedged under an adult or sibling also in the bed.

They wake to find their baby blue and lifeless.

“I respond right away to these calls, and what I see are broken-up families. Torn up people,” said Tonya Tanksley, a detective in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s child abuse unit. “And unfortunately, most of the time, when we go into the properties, we see a crib, and the crib is filled with dirty clothes or other things — everything but the baby.”

Since the start of this year, the St. Louis Medical Examiner’s Office has recorded six infant deaths determined or suspected to be caused by sharing a bed or couch. In 2011 the office recorded seven such deaths for the whole year.

The spike in what health experts consider preventable accidental deaths has led some to tie it to the high foreclosure and eviction rates in a poor economy. It has also prompted the St. Louis Department of Health to issue a public safety warning of the elevated risk of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome — or SIDS — from sharing a bed or a couch with a baby.

Babies should always sleep alone, on their backs, in a crib, the health advisory states.

“Parents should never allow a toddler or infant to sleep in an adult’s bed, a chair or a sofa, even if the adult is present,” said Interim City Health Director Pamela Walker.

Walker said she became aware of the problem after sitting in a city child fatality review session on another matter. She was shocked when she saw the agenda had numerous infant deaths all related to bed-sharing.

“I just don’t think people understand the risks that they’re taking with their babies,” she said. “You love them so much, and you cuddle and you nurse and you doze off. Unless someone puts it in your face, and unless doctors tell you what a risk it is, people do it.”

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Genesee County Michigan Sees Significant Drop in Infant Death Rates

GENESEE COUNTY, MI – Recently released data showed a significant decrease in Genesee County infant death rates.

In fact, Genesee County Health Department officials say it’s the lowest it’s been in 25 years.

REACH.jpgFlint Journal File PhotoIn this 2002 file photo, Sonya Williams meets with her maternal health advocate Retinea Dye as Dye holds Sha’Mika Skelton, 9 mos., as they go over some asthma medicines recently prescribed for her child. Her newborn, Sha’Mika Skelton, 9 mos., was REACH’s first baby, that is the first healthy baby delivered to a mom helped by REACH. REACH is the CDC-funded infant heath project coordinated by the health department and others.

The infant death rate (from birth to one year of age) for 2010 in Genesee County was 5.7 per 1,000 births compared to 9.4 deaths in 2009, according to a press release from the Genesee County Health Department.

“I’m extremely pleased,” said Mark Valacak, Genesee County Health Department health officer. “This has been an area where we as a department and we as a community have come together to focus on an issue and had success from coming together.”

Seeing a decrease in infant deaths can be contributed to different community groups coming together to improve mother and infant health, promote healthier lifestyles and routine doctor visits and offer better access to care, Valacak said.

One of the biggest drops came in the number of African American infant deaths in the city of Flint, according to the release. Flint’s average infant death rate was 7.5 per 1,000 live births in 2010 compared to the 18.9 per 1,000 births in 2009 and 12.6 in 2008.

The Genesee County African American infant death rate also dropped drastically from 20.3 per 1,000 births in 2009 to 7.9 in 2010.

The death rate among African American infants, which has historically been two to three times greater than that of white infants, was lower than white infant deaths in Flint for the first time, according to the release.

In the city of Flint the white infant death rate increased in 2010 to 9.5 deaths per 1,000 births compared to 4.7 in 2009. In Genesee County the white infant death rate dropped to 4.8 in 2010 from 5.2 in 2009.

The numbers are positive overall, but a harder look needs to be taken into the data to understand it a little better, Valacak said. The trends will need to be followed over the years to see if they continue.

“We want to look at trends over time and ensure that we are dealing with problems we can identify,” he said.

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Mother Cautions Against Bed-sharing

Written by Kris Pickel, WKYV-TV
11:55 PM, May 16, 2012

Lisa speaks about her son Dayton just as any loving mother does.

“He had dark brown hair, big blue eyes, and a great big smile. A ridiculous smile.”

The pictures of Dayton show a little baby with a shock of brown hair and the kind of infectious grin that melts hearts.

Dayton would have turned 10 this year. Sadly, he did not live to see his first birthday.

For years, Lisa told well-meaning inquirers that her baby had died of SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. She couldn’t bring herself to share the truth.

“No one wants to tell them I rolled on top of my baby,” she says.

Lisa says her pediatrician encouraged her to sleep with her baby, telling her sharing a bed encourages bonding and longer  breastfeeding.

On October 27, 2002, Lisa woke to find Dayton not breathing. “I woke up and my shoulder was pressed against his face and he wasn’t breathing,” she says.

Lisa’s story is heartbreaking, but throughout Ohio, health officials say it’s not uncommon. The Ohio Child Fatality Review Board reports that between 2005 and 2009, 66 percent of all infant sleep-related deaths occurred to babies who were sharing a sleep surface with another person.

“When I look at just Cuyahoga County, every fall I am reminded that we average 21 sleep-related deaths a year. That’s a kindergarten class of children that’s not going to school but should be,” says Lorrie Considine, a registered nurse, and program manager at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

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