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Hamilton County Job & Family Services hits streets to reduce infant deaths

Caseworkers from Hamilton County Job and Family Services will be back in neighborhoods Monday...
Caseworkers from Hamilton County Job and Family Services will be back in neighborhoods Monday talking to parents about how to make sure their infants sleep safely.
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 4:42 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2021 at 6:09 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Caseworkers from Hamilton County Job & Family Services will be back in neighborhoods Monday talking to parents about how to make sure their infants sleep safely.

They also will be passing out free sleep sacks and swaddles Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. at Westwood Health Fair, 3460 Epworth Ave.

They will continue to give out the free items later this week and next week:

Thursday, Oct. 21: The parking lot at Stanley Rowe Towers, West End, noon to 3 p.m., 835 Poplar St., 45214

Monday, Oct. 25: New Jerusalem Church, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Carthage, 26 W. North Bend Road, 45216

Thursday, Oct. 28: Community Matters, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lower Price Hill, 2104 St. Michael St., 45214

This neighborhood outreach, initiated back in June, is a first for HCJFS.

It comes along with other new ways they are reaching out to families this year, including billboard advertising and messages playing inside Metro buses.

Proper sleep attire is the one aspect of unsafe sleep deaths they say they have the most potential to help control.

As the weather cools down, sleep attire becomes more important – swaddles and sleep sacks keep babies warm without the risk of suffocation from blankets.

“Our priority is helping prevent unsafe sleep deaths,” Amy Story, JFS interim director, said. “Protecting children is what we do. And one of the best ways to do that is make sure babies are sleeping safely.”

About 3,500 babies die each year in the United States from unsafe sleeping situations.

County officials say 2020 was the worst year in almost a decade for safe-sleep infant deaths in Hamilton County – 21 babies died.

“We want that number to be zero. The agency trained more than 200 HCJFS caseworkers this spring in safe sleep and safe sleep attire so they can share this information with families,” JFS said in a news release Monday.

“Always remember – families should use a crib, bassinet of Pack ‘N Play with a firm, flat mattress and fitted sheet. And always without any blankets, toys or stuffed animals. Infants should be placed on their backs for sleep alone. It is recommended that infants sleep in the same room as their caregivers, but not in the same bed.”

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