Local effort offers additional safe sleep options for infants

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A local effort is looking to curb the leading cause of death for infants by providing new parents with more safe sleep options.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the cause of death for roughly 1,600 babies between one month and one year old in this country.

The Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and the Eau Claire-City County Health Department are thinking "inside the box" to prevent tragic deaths.

The organizations are working to provide new parents with the safe sleep option, called newborn nests, at no cost to families.
We offer the newborn nest to families who are in need of a safe sleep environment all the way up to four years old,” explained advocate case manager Kayla Lauderdale with the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

It's a simple solution to reduce cases of SIDS with the newborn nests made up of a box, a pad, and the baby on their back.

The idea is borrowed from an effective tradition in Finland, where the infant mortality rate is less than half the rate in the U.S., Lauderdale says the Eau Claire branch now has around 10 to offer families.

“The baby would be sleeping alone, the baby would be sleeping on its back and in a crib with very little risk of suffocation because we don't have extra blankets or any crib bumpers or anything like that in here,” said Lauderdale.

The health department says the safe sleep option is also much easier to transport than your typical crib which makes it much more convenient for families on the go.

Hannah Harter, R.N., explained, “They can have an option to pick it up and go versus having to take it apart and when you get to the new place have to set it up.”

The health department will be receiving five newborn nests as an alternative to its Pack and Play program.

Harter added, “I've talked to families who literally don't have space in their apartment for a pack and play and a baby box would work perfectly for them.”

The department hopes new parents in need can use the newborn nests to box up their bundles of joy from potential tragedy.

“Putting your baby to sleep safely consistently is really important and can help reduce their risk for sleep related death,” said Harter.

The health department says the newborn nest costs around $34 compared to around $60-70 for the pack and play.

Both organizations say families are screened for a safe sleep option fitted based on need.