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.
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.
Michelle Bernardi, Pediatric Nurse Practioner, Portland Pediatrics
Donna Brower, Nurse
Caroline R. Dignan, M.D, Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine/Director, Autopsy Service, University of Rochester Medical Center
Diane Larter, Greater Rochester Health Foundation
Margaret Trevett, Retired Trust Officer
Sue VanStrydonck, Retired Public Child Welfare Administrator
Pat White, Retired Public Health Nurse
And Many Community Supporters
- Supplied free safe sleep brochures (printed courtesy of Xerox Corporation) to the Monroe County Department of Public Health to include in the mailing of 9,747 birth certificates in 2016.*
- Provided 8,266 safe sleep take-home kits in 2017 to Monroe County hospital birthing centers for distribution to new parents for a total of 18,984 kits since starting the program in Summer 2015.
- Worked with URMC/Golisano Hospital Pediatric Sleep Medicine Services to create an infant sleep tip sheet aimed at reinforcing safe sleep practices while helping parents and baby to get more rest.
- Supported the efforts of UR Highland Hospital through our National Cribs for Kids program affiliation in becoming the third hospital in our community to achieve Gold Safe Sleep Champion status – the highest level recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program.
- Raised nearly $30,000 from events including Baby Safe Sleep Rocks, the BSS Stroll, Alex and Ani/Bangles for Babies, and Roc the Day, and received a generous donation from the Glover-Crask Charitable Trust.
- Shared free safe sleep educational materials at several community events and with local pediatricians, hospitals, and agencies that work with infants and families.
- Marked our 10th year of service by evaluating our safe sleep efforts to date, identifying new priorities and setting future goals.
- Our Safe Crib Project raised $3,500 and distributed 19 Pack N Play cribs in 2017, serving as an additional resource for hospital social workers and community organizations serving people in need.
- Met with Monroe County Executive Office, Department of Public Health and Law Department staff as well as NYS legislators to continue pursuing legislation action on banning the sale of crib bumpers.
- As a participating member of the NYS Safe Sleep Task Force, shared local research, messages and best practices that have resulted in more effective statewide safe sleep initiatives.
* Most recent data available from the MCDPH.