House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) recognizes October as Safe Sleep and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. This year, she has continued her annual tradition of collaborating with the Akron Children’s Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Akron General, and Summa Health Systems Akron Campus to drop off onesies and promote safe sleeping practices for infants.
The onesies, donated by the Ohio Hospital Association, have “This Side Up” written on the front as a reminder that all babies should sleep on their backs for bedtime.
“Ohio’s infant mortality rate is an issue that we must take seriously. Each week, approximately three babies die due to unsafe sleep environments, which means that now, more than ever, it’s crucial to educate new parents on the importance of safe sleep practices,” said Leader Sykes.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, caregivers should follow the “ABCs” of Safe Sleep: (A)lone, on their (B)ack, and in a (C)rib or bassinet.
“We greatly appreciate Leader Sykes and her dedication to keeping our tiniest patients safe,” said Heather Trnka, injury prevention coalition supervisor for Akron Children’s Hospital. “Spreading the word on the ABCs of safe sleep is so important and truly can save precious lives.”
“We deeply appreciate Leader Sykes for her annual commitment to deliver these onesies to our new mothers each October for Safe Sleep Awareness Month,” said Dr. Jennifer Savitski, Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cleveland Clinic Akron General. “Placing babies on their backs when they sleep is a proven way to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and these onesies are an easy way to help spread that message.”
“Promoting safe sleep is a top priority at Summa Health and we are thankful Leader Sykes shares this passion and commitment to our community,” said Billi Copeland King, director, Summa Health Equity Center. “We are always searching for new ways to share the message of safe sleep with the hundreds of families we serve each year. The onesies are a wonderful and creative approach to this life-saving reminder.”
Statistically, infant mortality has disproportionately affected black communities. According to Healthy People 2030, the goal for Ohio’s infant death rate is 5.0 in the year 2030. In 2019, white babies were at 5.1, but black babies were at 14.3.
Watch Leader Sykes’ Safe Sleep Public Service Announcement here: https://www.ohiochannel.org/video/rep-sykes-safe-sleep-psa.