The Welcome Baby program has been a service of Durham County government for over twenty-five years and is currently part of the Durham Cooperative Extension department. Welcome Baby provides a number of family support, education and safety programs for families of young children. We serve over 2000 families each year. The program has been recognized through receipt of the Making a Difference Award in 2008 and the NC Youth and Families Award in 2009. Welcome Baby became a local chapter for the National Cribs for Kids program in April of 2011.
The goal of Cribs for Kids of Durham is to ensure a safe sleep environment for all newborns and to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). To ensure that every parent has a crib that needs one, Welcome Baby has become a National Cribs for Kids® chapter in April of this year. Cribs for Kids is a self-sustaining program through which we purchase and distribute new Pack-n-Play® porta-cribs for parents in need in the Durham community. Each family receives Cribs for Kids safe sleep training before receiving a crib. All cribs are purchased through private, tax-deductible donations from the community. Cribs cost $49.99.
In order to be eligible, parents must receive a referral from an authorized healthcare provider or social worker. Children must be between the ages of 0-6 months. Cribs are distributed on a first come, first serve basis and is contingent on continued program funding. To date we’ve distributed over 30 cribs to families in pockets of Durham with higher rates of poverty (27707, 27703-04, 27705, 27701 and 27713). Families in need of a crib have been identified by the following home-visiting programs: Durham Connects, Baby Love, Coordinated Care Management, Department of Social Services and Healthy Families Durham.
Once we have received a referral, Welcome Baby staff contact the family and arrange for a time to receive their safe sleep education session and pick up their Pak N Play. Families are asked to return the Pak‘N Play once they no long have a need so we may give to another family. Families take ownership in the program by contributing a $10 co-pay to cover the shipping each crib.
To date we have distributed over 200 cribs.
The sudden and unexpected death of a newborn infant known as S.I.D.S. (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is one of the most tragic events that a new family can experience, but unfortunately happens all too frequently. In 1994, acting on research gathered from Europe and Australia, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and other major US Health organizations launched the national Back to Sleep campaign which endorsed and promoted the placement of infants on their backs both for sleeping and napping. This highly successful campaign changed the behavior of many new parents and resulted in a documented decrease of SIDS by over 50% since the inception of this campaign. The AAP has recognized additional factors in an infant’s sleep environment. Placing an infant to sleep on a soft bedding surface such as an adult bed or sofa, increases the risk of that infant dying by five fold as compared to a baby who sleeps on a firm crib mattress. The safest way for a baby to sleep is on its back, alone in a crib.