State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) Tuesday kicked off Safe Sleep Awareness Month with visits to Cleveland Clinic Akron General and Summa Health Equity Center to drop off onesies and discuss safe sleeping practices for babies. In collaboration with Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA Early) Childhood Initiative and ACCESS Shelter & Housing, a local organization dedicated to addressing the plight of women and children in the Akron community, Sykes is gathering donated onesies for families in need and spreading awareness about safe sleeping practices for Ohio babies. The onesies, donated by the Ohio Hospital Association, have “This Side Up” printed across the front—a reminder to parents that doctors recommend all infants sleep on their backs to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
“As Ohio continues to grapple with a dismal infant mortality rate, it’s more important than ever to raise awareness and educate families about safe sleep practices for newborns,” said Sykes. “Through the tremendous efforts of local partners like ACCESS, AMHA, Summa, and Cleveland Clinic Akron General to support new parents, we can help to ensure more babies make it to their first birthday and beyond.”
According to the Ohio Department of Health, every week in Ohio, three babies die in unsafe sleep environments. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents always place their baby on his or her back for every sleep time; always use a firm sleep surface; and keep soft objects such as pillows, blankets, and bumper pads or loose bedding out of the crib.
*A picture of Rep. Sykes and Kimberly S. Braman, Director of Nursing/Patient Services Perinatal Unit at Akron Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Cleveland Clinic Akron General holding the onesies is attached.