Through a unique and innovative partnership with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Healthy Start Coalition of Manatee County, Inc. has implemented a highly effective SIDS/SUID community education and prevention program, the Infant Safe Sleep Campaign. This partnership was launched in 2005, after the Sheriff’s Office’s Infant Death Review Panel found that many of the tragic accidental infant deaths they investigated could have been prevented if parents/caretakers had been equipped with information and tools to ensure a safe environment for their babies.
Since that time, the Sheriff’s Office and Healthy Start Manatee have teamed up and worked together closely on analyzing the research and data related to accidental sleep deaths, identifying key risk factors among families, developing culturally appropriate outreach and prevention education for families, and providing Moses bassinets – through our Project Moses component of the program – and pack n’play cribs to families in need of a safe place to sleep for their infants.
Healthy Start Manatee is proud to have been invited to join the Safe to Sleep Champions Initiative in 2013, an effort created and supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It was formerly known as the Back to Sleep campaign. As a Safe to Sleep Champion, Healthy Start supports awareness-raising efforts, locally, that align with the initiative’s national efforts, in particular during SIDS Awareness Month in October.