Cribs for Kids: Free cribs offered to parents who qualify in La Porte Co.

A safe place to sleep for your infant could mean the difference between life and death.

That's why the La Porte County Health Department is gearing up for its Cribs for Kids - Safe Sleep Academy.

The program has been around since 2015.

The infant mortality rate in St. Joseph County is higher than the national average. It's the same case with La Porte County.

The national average for infant deaths is almost 6 percent. In La Porte County it is more than 7 percent.

In 2016 Indiana did a review of all infant deaths in the state. What it revealed was shocking. There were 105 deaths out of those 99 were the result of unsafe sleep habits.

"It is rather surprising, I know myself I had a child in 2011 and it was never discussed with me the correct way,” said Danielle Glasgow, public health nurse. “As we've progressed, we also see that generational gap."

The La Porte County Health Department Cribs for Kids program provides an hour lesson to parents who qualify.

After the session caregivers get a free pack-n-play crib set plus other tools to create a safe environment.

"A lot of older parents, caregivers, of infants, they assumed that the stomach was how we put you to sleep and you were fine. A lot of things have changed," said Glasgow.

The health department also works with La Porte County EMS, which spearheads the Direct On-Scene Education Program, called DOSE.

"A typical call we would have a few minutes in between, or someone there – a fire member or police department member, might have a minute to speak to the family,” said Andrew McGuire, La Porte County EMS administrator. “Just to ask them, do you have a child in the house under one year of age? Do you mind if we inspect the sleep area?”

Experts say if you take away anything it's this: Put babies to sleep on their backs, on a firm mattress, with no toys or blankets. A halo sleep sack or tight swaddle should keep them warm, and absolutely no co-sleeping.

"They can get caught up in the blankets, they can get rolled on top of, so it is very dangerous,” said Glasgow. “The best place is to have that pack-n-play crib right next to your adult sleep area. It can even be in the same room just not in the same bed."

The first class for the Cribs for Kids program is tomorrow at the Michigan City Public Library.

To see if you qualify, and to pre-register, you must call the La Porte County Health Department. Call the La Porte County Health Department Michigan City Office at (219) 874-5611 Ext. 7780 or the La Porte Office at 326-6808 Ext. 2200.


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