News Releases

BSS Rocks 2019 Is April 7!

BSS Rocks 2018

Join us for a fun, family-friendly fundraiser to support the Baby Safe Sleep Coalition and our efforts to save infant lives in our community. Enjoy a delicious pasta dinner and vie for amazing raffle prizes at the 2019 Baby Safe Sleep Rocks fundraising event on Sunday, April 7, 2019, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Penfield Country Club, 1784 Jackson Rd., Penfield.

Tickets are $30 in advance ($35 at the door) per person; children 5-10, $10, and children under 5, free. Purchase tickets online here.

Raffle items include gift cards to restaurants, stores & attractions; toys for children of all ages; tickets to events, movies, plays or concerts; sports equipment, household items and more.

Proceeds from this fun annual event support our efforts to eliminate infant deaths in Monroe County due to unsafe sleep practices. Call (585) 461-0115, x249 or email [email protected] for more information.

American Academy of Pediatrics Expands Safe Sleep Reccomendations

The American Academy of Pediatrics has expanded its safe sleep recommendations to answer common questions. More information can be found here.

In addition to offering explanations about how soft surfaces and materials can interfere with a baby’s breathing, there are new safety recommendations for co-sleepers, and details about the importance of health professionals sharing this information throughout pregnancy, birth and the baby’s follow-up visits.

Take a look at AAP’s recently added video.


You’re Invited to Baby Safe Sleep Rocks 2017!

Baby Rocks


Join us for great music, a delicious pasta dinner and amazing raffle prizes at the 2016 Baby Safe Sleep Rocks fundraising event on Sunday, April 30, 2017, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Penfield Country Club, 1784 Jackson Rd., Penfield. Tickets are $30 in advance ($35 at the door) per person; children 5-10, $10, and children under 5, free. The pasta dinner will be served at 5 p.m.

Raffle items include gift cards to restaurants, stores & attractions; toys for children of all ages; tickets to events, movies, plays or concerts; sports equipment, household items, and electronics.

Proceeds from this fun annual event support our efforts to eliminate infant deaths in Monroe County due to unsafe sleep practices.

Donation items are welcome! To donate items, please contact Christine Doyle, Baby Safe Sleep Coalition coordinator, at (585) 461-0115, ext. 249 or by emailing [email protected].

You can purchase tickets online at Eventbrite or call (585) 461-0110, x 249 for more options.

BSS Celebrates 2015 Accomplishments

The Baby Safe Sleep Coalition finished out 2015 with some significant accomplishments and a generous donation that will enable us to continue our successful Enhanced Safe Sleep Education collaboration with area hospitals in 2016.

At our end-of-the-year celebration on December 17, Co-Chair Sue VanStydonck announced that the Glover Crask Charitable Trust had made a $15,000 donation to continue a project with UR/Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong, UR/Highland, Rochester General and Unity Hospitals that provides safe sleep instruction to the parents of every baby born annually in Monroe County. Parents also receive a take-home safe sleep kit that they can share with family members and caregivers to ensure that everyone who cares for their baby knows about safe sleep.

“We are so grateful to John Harris and Glover Crask Charitable Trust for their support of this life-saving program,” VanStrydonck said. “As a small organization operated primarily by volunteers, we could not continue distribution of the take-home kits without this gift from Glover Crask!”

The December breakfast also provided an opportunity to acknowledge several important accomplishments in 2015, including:

  • 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. 10,566 birth certificates were mailed in 2015.
  • Completion of 2 successful pilot programs at Rochester General and Unity hospitals that provided enhanced safe sleep education and 2,800 take-home kits with sleep sacks to parents of newborns, which led to the establishment of the enhanced safe sleep education program with all local hospitals and distribution of an additional 1,850 safe sleep kits in 2015.
  • Our support of the efforts of UR/Golisano Children’s Hospital, through our affiliation with the National Cribs for Kids program, to become the first and only hospital in New York State to achieve the highest level recognized by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program, Gold Safe Sleep Champions.
  • Our success in raising nearly $30,000 from events including Baby Safe Sleep Rocks, the BSS Stroll and Roc the Day; and donations from the Genesee Brewhouse Pilot Brewery, Chico’s at Pittsford Plaza, and many private donors.
  • Outreach efforts that shared safe sleep education and Monroe County Department of Public Health statistics at a variety of community events and with local pediatricians, hospitals and agencies that work with infants and families.
  • The work of our Safe Crib Project committee in raising $4,500 used to purchase 50 Pack N Play portable cribs, 100 crib sheets with the safe sleep message from Cribs for Kids, and 50 sleep sacks for distribution to families in need.
  • Expansion of our safe sleep continuum of care in Monroe County to include presentations and safe sleep kit distribution at OB/GYN practices and centering sites such as Healthy Baby Network’s Healthy Start programs at Rochester General Hospital, Clinton Family Health Center and Anthony Jordan Health Center.

Safe Sleep Kits at All Monroe County Hospitals

The Baby Safe Sleep Coalition is now providing safe sleep educational materials to the parents of approximately 10,500 infants born annually in Monroe County hospitals.

Safe Sleep Kits provided by the Coalition were introduced at  Rochester General Hospital in August 2014 and at Unity Hospital in January 2015 The Coalition received grants from the Genesee Valley Medical Society, the Polisseni Foundation and the Greater Rochester Health Foundation to provide 1,995 take-home safe sleep kits to RGH and 800 kits to Unity Hospital.

Following positive feedback from hospital staff and parents, the program has been expanded to include URMC Strong Hospital, Golisano Children’s Hospital and Highland Hospital.

The kits reinforce safe sleep information shared by hospital staff and are designed to be taken home by parents to share with family members and others who help take care of the new baby.

The kit includes a brochure and door hanger with the safe sleep message; a baby board book, Sleep Baby Safe and Snug that beautifully and simply illustrates the recommended safe sleep environment, and FAQs about safe sleep. A wearable blanket (sleep sack) recommended as an alternative to using blankets or other bedding in the baby’s crib is being provided at several participating hospitals.

Golisano Children’s Hospital and Strong Memorial Hospitals recently were recognized as the first in New York State to be named “Gold Safe Sleep Champions” by the Crib for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program in conjunction with their commitment to the enhanced safe sleep education project. Highland Hospital secured grant funding this month to purchase sleep sacks for distribution with the Coalition kits to their parents of newborns.

“We commend these hospitals for putting safe sleep education directly into the hands of every new parent as part of a community effort to eliminate sleep environment risks that have already claimed the lives of 75 healthy infants between 2007 and 2014,” said Susanne VanStrydonck, co-chair of the Baby Safe Sleep Coalition.

“The Coalition has collaborated with area pediatricians and agencies that work with children and families to communicate the safe sleep message. Recently, we launched a similar educational program with OB practices. Now, with the addition of these hospitals, our message is reinforced at exactly the right moment to ensure that parents know the risks of an unsafe sleep environment and how to make sure that their new baby sleeps safely.”

Baby Safe Sleep Kit

Understanding Your Baby’s Sleep Patterns

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued some helpful information on infant sleep patterns. Understanding how and why your baby sleeps (or doesn’t!) can ensure a better night’s rest for everyone.

The healthy baby’s sleep and waking patterns often prove problematic to parents, and when a child doesn’t sleep as expected, the parent-child relationship can start off on the wrong foot.

Sleep patterns – and problems – differ as the child ages. As the newborn brain slowly matures, the infant acquires the ability to cope with the stimulus load of the waking world. In early infancy, a child is sleeping 16-18 hours a day, and may prefer to be wakeful during the peaceful night rather than the hectic daytime hours. If parents understand this, they won’t blame themselves or be fearful for the child, and may not make the mistake of trying to stimulate the baby into daytime wakefulness.

By two months, many children are staying awake well enough but have very difficult transitions to sleep. Mothers and fathers often encounter two or more hours of crying and irritability in the early evenings as
they try unsuccessfully to rock, walk, or sing their babies to sleep. At this age, they can be reminded that these babies are already overstimulated, and that a brief period of under stimulation (swaddling, quiet, dark room) may allow the child to settle to sleep after a little fussing.

Babies (like all humans) wake regularly through the night and often drift back into a deep sleep. The almost universal assumption that babies wake because they’re hungry may result in parents “training” the child to expect a feeding. Experienced parents often wait a few minutes before responding to a child who is quietly fussing, and find that they will settle themselves. If the baby does begin to cry in the night, once they have begun to sleep through the night, parents should resist feeding them. If they are fed in an effort to quiet their crying, chances are they will soon come to expect this response whenever they wake up in the night,

Parents may also face various challenges and stressors related to sleep starting around 4 months when separation anxiety usually starts. Sleep behaviors associated with separation anxiety include a new reluctance to go to sleep and resurgence in night waking. If these sleep behaviors are not positively addressed by the time the child is 7-8 months, they will continue to insist on the behaviors that cause stress because it is now habit to them. Bedtime routines, rituals, consistency and reassurances from parents can help the child settle down and become sleepy.

aa mom with baby in crib  safely

2015 Baby Safe Sleep Rocks Raises $4500

The Black Rabbit band played, over 100 people attended, more than 65 raffle prizes were won and the result was approximately $4500 raised to support safe sleep education in Monroe County!

The 4th annual Baby Safe Sleep Rocks fundraiser was held Sunday, May 3, 2015 at Penfield Country Club. We are so grateful and proud of the generous response from donors, attendees and volunteers that helped make this event such a great success.

Proceeds from Baby Safe Sleep Rocks will support area hospitals in offering enhanced safe sleep education programs. As of April 2015, the Coalition has delivered over 2000 safe sleep kits to Rochester General and Unity hospitals as part of these efforts.

Our thanks and appreciation to the following supporters:

Baby Safe Sleep Coalition Members

Karen Baker

Kathy Bivona

Kathy Briggs

Donna Brower

Elaine Costello

Sally Pezzulo

April Schoenberger

Cindy Steigerwald

William Strusz

Pat White

Sue VanStrydonck

Black Rabbit Band

Fahsye Accessories Boutique

Hawn Heating & Air Conditioning

Lisa’s Liquor Barn

Luxe Spa

Proseco Italian Restaurant & Jazz Bar

Richard’s Jewelry Store

Rochester Museum & Science Center

Seabreeze Amusement Park

Seneca Park Zoo


photo (2) photo (4) Kids Singing photo (3)

Developing a State-wide Safe Sleep Strategy

The Baby Safe Sleep Coalition was honored to participate in a safe sleep strategy session held March 5, 2015 at the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. Several different organizations that work with children and families shared what they are currently doing to educate the community. The meeting was the first step in working together to create a unified safe sleep awareness strategy for New York State.  We were inspired to hear about the advances other agencies have made in educating parents and caregivers about the importance of safe sleep practices in eliminating the deaths of healthy infants. We look forward to continuing to work with this group!

Safe Crib Project

The Safe Crib Project was established in 1993 to meet the need of impoverished families of newborns for safe, high-quality cribs. In 2013, the Safe Crib Project became a sub-committee of the Baby Safe Sleep Coalition.

Portable cribs are provided to families who demonstrate a need and are participating in programs provided by Anthony Jordan Health Center, the Baby Love Program of the Strong Health Social Work Division, Family Resource Centers of Rochester, or the Nurse Family Partnership/Monroe County Department of Public Health. This ensures that participating families receive a home visit and education about safe sleep practices. Families who are not currently participating in a home visiting program may be referred to the Safe Crib Project for assistance on a case-by-case basis.

The project is supported through private sources including corporations, churches, synagogues and community organizations. Each donation of $50 provides a family in need with a safe sleep place for their baby. We greatly appreciate the generosity of our supporters.

To donate, visit Jewish Family Service of Rochester and choose Safe Crib Project from the Make A Donation box. Checks should be made out to Safe Crib Project, and mailed to Jewish Family Service of Rochester, 441 East Ave., Rochester, NY 14607.  For more information, contact Christine Doyle or call 585-473-7233.

Safe Sleep Presentations Available for OB Practices

The Baby Safe Sleep Coalition offers free safe sleep educational presentations to OB and pediatric practices in the Monroe County area. The presentations include a short PowerPoint presentation that familiarizes health professionals with current local statistics on unsafe sleep deaths and the latest AAP recommendations on safe sleep practices, and provides helpful answers to questions parents and caregivers have about safe sleep practices. There is also a short video that includes comments from the Monroe County Medical Examiner and Public Health Director, and the stories of two local families who lost their infants due to unsafe sleep practices. Free educational materials are also available for distribution to patients. For more information, send us an email or call (585) 473-SAFE.

Please note that at this time, the Coalition is able to provide presentations and materials ONLY  or practices and organizations located in Monroe County, NY. All materials are available as PDFs on our website.