About BSS

In 2008, a small group of professionals gathered together to discuss the disturbing trend of unsafe sleep fatalities in Monroe County, identified by the local Child Fatality Review Team. From that group, the Baby Safe Sleep Coalition was formed.

In January 2011, the Coalition, then a collaborative of 15 agencies, became a program of Jewish Family Service of Rochester, a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency. It began as an entirely volunteer effort whose funds were and continue to be 80% privately raised.

Our Mission

The Baby Safe Sleep Coalition is a diverse collaborative of professionals, organizations and concerned individuals who are committed to eliminating preventable infant fatalities caused by unsafe sleep practices in Monroe County. The Coalition works to advocate and educate; its goal is to improve knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about the risk of unsafe sleep environments and thus change social norms and parent and caretaker behavior. Our work is inspired by a passion to ensure that babies have the opportunity to thrive and become healthy adults.

Our Members
The Baby Safe Sleep Coalition is a group of men and women who are committed to eliminating infant deaths from unsafe sleeping accidents. These are people whose professional lives are involved in some way with infant safety and health. Coalition members include the following organizations and individuals:
Our Accomplishments to Date
  • Continued distribution of our safe sleep brochures, printed courtesy of Xerox Corporation, with all birth certificates mailed out annually by the Monroe County Department of Public Health. 9,962 birth certificates were mailed in 2016.
  • Continued partnership with all hospitals in Monroe County to provide enhanced safe sleep education and distribute safe sleep take-home kits to the parents of an estimated 10,000 babies born here annually. The hospitals’ commitment includes providing sleep sacks to every newborn. Since Summer 2015, the program has distributed 10,718 safe sleep kits.
  • Through our affiliation with the National Cribs for Kids program, we have supported the efforts of UR/Golisano Children’s Hospital and Regional Health System/Rochester General Hospital to achieve the highest level recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program, Gold Safe Sleep Champions.
  • Joined the New York State Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (NYS IM-CoIIN) Safe Sleep Taskforce to share local research, messages and practices that are helping to develop a more effective statewide strategy aimed at reducing infant deaths due to an unsafe sleep environment.
  • Raised nearly $30,000 from events including Baby Safe Sleep Rocks, the BSS Stroll and Roc the Day; and generous donations from the Glover Crask Charitable Trust and many private donors.
  • Shared safe sleep information at several community events including the Bivona Child Abuse Summit, March of Dimes Mother-to-Be Breakfast, UR Pediatric Nursing Conference, Beyond the Bump.
  • Continued to share our comprehensive educational materials and the latest Monroe County Department of Public Health statistics with local pediatricians, hospitals and agencies that work with infants and families.
  • Our Safe Crib Project committee raised $3,000 and distributed 15 Pack N Plays in 2016, and is following up on many end-of-the-year requests. Also expanded and enriched relationships with outpatient social workers across URMC and RRHS to support the Safe Crib Project in identifying needs, delivering resources and offering direct safe sleep education to patients
  • Joined with others in New York to support a legislative ban on the sale of crib bumpers in the state. Coalition members generated over 200 letters to Senators and Assemblypersons.
  • Began the first steps of our strategic planning process to ensure the future and ongoing mission of Baby Safe Sleep by conducting interviews with three agencies.
  • Hosted a visit by New York City Executive Deputy Director and Medical Director of the Administration of Children Services and the Director and Deputy Director of the Safe Sleep Unit, to share our history and programs.
  • Provided consultation and safe sleep educational materials to Niagara County which will be distributing our video “Healthy Babies Are Dying” to Community Health Worker programs, Adult Probation and Parole units, Pediatrician and OBGYN offices, as well as other agencies working with new or expecting mothers.
  • Collaborated with the Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong/Pediatric Sleep Medicine Services to develop a tip sheet: Teach Your Baby To Be A Good Sleeper.