Rose ItzcovitzOct 18, 2016, 9:50 pmOct 18, 2016, 10:52 pm

Westchester-based campaign puts unsafe sleep environments for infants to rest

Initiative aims to help parents prevent sudden infant deaths

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Since 2008, 38 percent of sudden infant deaths were caused by unsafe sleep environments; taking action against this statistic, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is launching the Safe Sleep campaign across the county.

Parents Oscar Bravo and Bruny Garcia welcomed their child, Daniel, eight months ago, but the new bundle of joy also brought new anxieties. The parents lost sleep constantly checking on Daniel.

That's why they were happy to offer their son up as the new posterchild to Westchester's Safe Sleep campaign to bring information and awareness to new parents on unsafe sleep environments that can cause infant deaths.

Astorino launched the initiative, joined by the family as well as pediatrician Jennifer Canter. They introduced the ABCs of proper sleep environments for children: At night, babies should be alone on their backs and in their crib.

Tummy time should be supervised, and all pillows and stuffed animals should be kept out during sleep.

“Parenting's hard, we are not perfect, but this is such a simple concept to have the baby alone, on the back, in a crib. So, when you see a fatality where unsafe sleep was the reason for the fatality, it's very tragic, it's very sad and very preventable,” Canter said.

According to the New York State Department of Health, there are about 90 sleep-related infant deaths each year across the state.

Astorino hopes that the campaign will help the number fall, even if just by one. Posters and flyers will also be distributed in both English and Spanish to more than 750 childcare provers and 3,000 parents.

More helpful information and details for new parents can be found at westchestergov.com.

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