Today I submitted the following letter to the editor of the Baltimore Sun:
A study released last week in the medical journal Pediatrics and reported on the Sun’s website Thursday noted alarming rates of injuries to children age 2 and under in cribs, playpens and bassinets.
This could give the wrong impression that cribs are not safe and should not be used. To the contrary, a properly assembled crib is the safest place to put a baby to sleep. However, as the article stated, two-thirds of these injuries involved falls. In 2008, 27 infants in Baltimore City did not reach their first birthday because they were put to bed in unsafe sleeping environments. These are highly preventable deaths.
Baltimore’s B’more for Healthy Babies campaign is helping lower the city’s stubbornly high infant mortality rate by educating parents and caregivers about the ABCs of safe sleep – Alone, on his or her Back, and in a Crib – every time, no exceptions.
Let’s hope the federal government’s ban on the sale of drop-side cribs, which starts in June, significantly reduces the number of young children injured in falls. But by placing infants to sleep in a safe environment, alone and on the back, in a crib, without any pillows, blankets or toys, we can save many lives - starting today.