Updated 12/10/2008 10:15 AM
"Cribs For Kids" Program Lends Helping Hand
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As part of the city's "Cribs for Kids" program, new parents are getting lessons in crib safety and safe sleep. The program provides cribs at no cost to families throughout Brooklyn, the South Bronx and Harlem who can't otherwise afford them.
This holiday season, the Health Department and the Fund for Public Health are encouraging New Yorkers to donate money for families in need.
"We know from our partners in the Department of Health there are 10,000 families in need of a crib now. And we thought that this was a good, in this economy, that this was a good goal for this holiday season," said Pamela Nathenson, a representative for the Fund for Public Health.
According to Consumer Reports, it can cost a family, on average, anywhere from $100 for economy cribs to more than $450 on the high-end.
Going without a crib can force some families to make decisions they think are okay for the baby, but can quickly turn tragic.
The baby may be put into a bed that is being shared with other children, with other adults, and that poses a risk for a rollover, accidentally smothering a baby," said Dr. Mary Bassett, Deputy Commissioner, New York City Department of Health.
The city has seen a dramatic drop in sleep-related infant deaths, but health officials said dozens still occur each year.
As part of their sleep education, health workers remind parents to put babies to sleep on their backs, keep cribs clear of items like stuffed animals that can suffocate them and to make sure cribs are assembled safely.
"If something is not latched properly, they can fall to one side, or the baby can roll out of it, or it can fall on top of the baby," said Cribs for Kids coordinator Nina Vega.
Sharon Williams, a parent, said in the midst of a tough economy, she may have had to borrow a crib from a friend if it wasn't for the program.
It's very hard to buy a stroller that's $235, or even sleepers that babies wrap up in. That's a lot. So every little thing, because my son is a preemie, he's going to wear something for two months, and that's it. So it's like every little helpful thing I get, I appreciate everything," said Williams.
They are encouraging New Yorkers to donate any amount they can to this program. They also said to keep in mind that $100 will purchase a crib and all the bedding and netting that goes with it for a family.
Donations can be made by visiting www.fphny.org or calling (212) 266-7824.