On Feb. 9, Mayor Tom Barrett announced United Health Foundation’s award of a 50,000 grant to the Milwaukee Health Department for the Cribs for Kids® program, intended to provide cribs to families in need and raise awareness of safe sleep practices.
United Health Foundation officials joined Mayor Barrett at a grant ceremony at the city’s Northwest Health Center where referrals, education and distribution of the portable cribs are administered.
The Cribs for Kids® program provides families with Pack ‘n Plays® to help reduce deaths due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and unsafe sleep. Pack ‘n Plays® are provided to families who are unable to purchase one and who are in their last four weeks of pregnancy or who have an infant under six months of age. Pack ‘n Plays® are portable and can be taken wherever the baby needs to be cared for. Before a family is given a Pack ‘n Play®, Cribs for Kids provides education and training on proper sleep position and sleep environment for the baby.
To participate in the Cribs for Kids program in Milwaukee, a Medicaid-eligible parent can make an appointment at any one of the three Milwaukee Health Department Safe Sleep Clinics located throughout the city. Each appointment lasts about an hour, during which the parent learns about safe sleep practices and is given a demonstration of how to set up and take down the Pack ‘n Play®. The parent leaves with the knowledge and equipment needed to ensure safe sleep for a baby. To contact MHD’s Cribs for Kids® Program by phone, call 414-286-8620.
Milwaukee Health Department’s Cribs for Kids program started in 2009 and continues to grow each year, giving out 400 cribs in 2009 and almost 1,000 cribs each year in 2010 and 2011.
“United Health Foundation is impressed by the results of the Milwaukee Health Department’s efforts to reduce the infant mortality rate in Milwaukee, especially the Cribs for Kids program,” said Kate Rubin, president of United Health Foundation. “This initiative is raising awareness about safe sleep practices and giving families the tools they need to create a safe environment for their children. And that is literally saving lives.”
“The city of Milwaukee is dedicated to reducing our tragic infant mortality rate. We see our Cribs for Kids Program as a vital tool in reaching out to families in need and providing them with resources and education to help them reduce the risks of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), our most preventable cause of infant death in Milwaukee,” Barrett said. “We are proud to have provided nearly 1,000 Pack ‘n Plays® in 2011 and are grateful to United Health Foundation for its generous grant that will enable us to continue providing this important service to local families.”
Wisconsin ranks 26th among states for infant mortality, according to the 2011 edition of United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings®. Infant mortality represents many factors surrounding birth including sleep practices, the mother’s health, prenatal care and quality of health services. High infant mortality rates are often considered preventable.
The Cribs for Kids grant is part of United Health Foundation’s commitment to community health planning as a response to the increasing incidence in debilitating and preventable chronic diseases and other health concerns, as highlighted in the Foundation’s 2011America’s Health Rankings®. Grants have been awarded to communities across the country and enable organizations and coalitions to identify and address local health challenges, mobilize public and private resources, and fund or create programs within their communities that answer these challenges.