Betty* had nothing for her baby granddaughter.  DHS dropped her infant granddaughter off unexpectedly and told Betty that she could either keep her or the baby was going into the system. The mother could no longer take care of her due to her involvement with drugs. Betty said that it was her job to protect the granddaughter now since she’d lost her own daughter to drugs and alcohol. Betty had to replace all of the nursery items because her daughter sold them. What she needed most was a safe place for the baby to sleep. Emergency Infant Services (EIS) provided her with a brand new Pack N Play thanks to the Sanford P. & Irene F. Burnstein Foundation, and Betty cried because she was so happy for our emergency help.

Having a safe place to sleep helps ensures the safety of an infant or child like Betty’s granddaughter. Not following the guidelines puts a child at risk for death by suffocation.

A crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard that meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)…. along with a tight-fitting, firm mattress and fitted sheet designed for that particular product” qualifies as a safe sleep environment.  “Nothing else should be in the crib except for the baby.”  That means “no blankets, pillows, toys, stuffed animals, or bumper pads,“ our Director of Social Services Esea emphasized. She added “never have the baby sleep in bed with you, and never go over two hours in a car without checking and moving the baby.”

Last fiscal year, EIS provided 228 Pack N Plays to families in need with newborns.  Our Pack N’ Play program works on a referral basis with local hospitals or other referring at-home visiting agencies. Each year, “More than 3,500 babies in the U.S. die suddenly and unexpectedly every year while sleeping.” During National Safety Month, EIS wants to emphasize the importance of safe sleep. Having a safe sleep environment can prevent this tragedy and EIS is committed to keeping Tulsa’s children safe.

If you’d like to sponsor the safe sleep of a child in need, donate $50 here.

*Names have been changed

1 in 4 children go to bed hungry each night