First Candle Awarded $11 Million Grant to Continue Fighting Infant Mortality in the U.S.; Leading Infant Health Nonprofit Launches Program to Prevent - Articles & News About Health

First Candle Awarded $11 Million Grant to Continue Fighting Infant Mortality in the U.S.; Leading Infant Health Nonprofit Launches Program to Prevent - Articles & News About Health

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First Candle Awarded $11 Million Grant to Continue Fighting Infant Mortality in the U.S.; Leading Infant Health Nonprofit Launches Program to Prevent

Baltimore, MD (PRWEB) November 15, 2007 -- First Candle is pleased to announce that the organization has received an $11 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct a ground-breaking program to help prevent infant deaths that occur as a result of unsafe sleep practices. As part of the organization''s National Crib Campaign, Bedtime Basics for Babies will combine a crib distribution program with wide-spread public and professional education and a rigorous evaluation component. The goal is to demonstrate the ability to influence infant sleeping practices and save infant lives.

The scope of the project will focus efforts in the states of Indiana and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia. Over a seven-year period, it is anticipated that approximately 200,000 cribs will be distributed to families in need and at-risk. In addition to a safe crib, families participating in the program will receive a Bedtime Basics Safe Sleep Kit, which includes a wearable blanket, fitted sheet and pacifier. First Candle will be working with a national network of supporters to provide at-cost and/or donated product and in-kind services to ensure the success of the program. Organizations currently committed include: HALO Innovations, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, Kids in Distressed Situations, Sassy/MAM, Simplicity for Children and YRC Worldwide, Inc.

The educational component will focus more broadly on delivering lifesaving safe sleep messages to parents, professionals and the general public. Messages will include the importance of creating a safe sleep zone around babies during sleep and promoting room sharing rather than bed sharing to facilitate breastfeeding and bonding at night.

By conducting a rigorous evaluation of the data collected during the course of the program, researchers anticipate that a significant decrease in infant mortality rates will be realized across the regions by the program''s end. With proof that campaigns such as this can save babies'' lives by simply placing them to sleep in a safe environment, we have the capacity to change child care practices nationwide, literally saving thousands and thousands of lives for generations to come.

The research team will be led by James J. Kemp, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis and Rachel Moon, MD, pediatrician and SIDS researcher at Children''s National Medical Center and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

"First Candle is honored to be partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to save infant lives," says Marian Sokol, PhD, MPH, president of the organization. "First Candle has been a key partner in the national Back to Sleep campaign which has had the single most significant impact on infant mortality in U.S. history. Through Bedtime Basics for Babies, we hope to build on that success and have an even greater impact on saving infant lives."

First Candle is a national health organization that has worked in the infant mortality arena for more than 30 years. It is the organization''s mission to promote and improve infant health and safety during the prenatal period through two years of age.

"We hope the Bedtime Basics for Babies program and research will save more infant lives, providing families with the safe sleep equipment and the vital information they need," said Patty Stonesifer, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We are proud to join the organizations and individuals taking on this critically important work."

First Candle Executive Director, Deborah Boyd, applauds the Foundation for calling attention to the dismal reality of infant mortality in the United States. As the wealthiest nation in the world, the U.S. ranks only 28th among developed nations at keeping its babies healthy and safe. "Saving our nation''s babies is everyone''s responsibility," says Boyd. "It is our hope that other public and private organizations will join this initiative to help ensure sustainability both during the program timeframe and beyond, in the belief that every baby should live."

For more information on the Bedtime Basics for Babies campaign, visit or call 1-800-221-7437.

This press release has been reprinted from PRWEB per the terms and conditions of the copyright notice.

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