Resource center plans community baby shower

Published 9:05 pm Friday, March 31, 2017

The Dallas County Family Resource Center is throwing a baby shower for the entire community later this month in an effort to educate families about the Safe to Sleep initiative and prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Jan Justice with the Dallas County Family Resource Center said she hopes to educate families about the Safe to Sleep campaign and give them a fun time as well.

“We felt like this would be a really nice thing to do for low-income families, and it would bring people out,” she said. “It’s really just to spread the message of the importance of putting babies to sleep on their back.”

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SIDS is the unexpected death of an infant younger than one, and Alabama has one of the highest infant mortality rates. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, 409 babies died between 2011 and 2015 from SIDS or other related causes.

The Safe to Sleep initiative teaches parents or grandparents to lay infants on their backs to sleep rather than their stomachs.

“When you lay them down, whether it’s for a nap or not, place the baby on their back to sleep at all times,” Justice said. “Naps, nights and everything. This greatly reduces the risk of SIDS.”

The Safe to Sleep presentation will also teach parents about putting their baby in a separate bed from themselves while sleeping at night and keeping blankets, stuffed animals and other hazards out of their baby’s bed.

Justice said when she was raising her children it was common to let them sleep on their stomachs, but research shows that it increases the risk of SIDS.

“As a grandmother, I raised my babies sleeping on their tummies because they slept better, so I thought while keeping my grandchild I’m going to put him on his stomach,” she said. “But I learned later that it increases the risk.”

Justice said the shower won’t just be educational, but it will also be fun for the whole family.

“We’re encouraging whole families to come out,” Justice said. “Grandmothers, grandfathers, everybody.”

Justice said there will be food, family portraits, children’s activities and other organizations there as well, like the Selma Fire Department, who will talk about car seat safety. Justice said she is really excited about the portraits because it isn’t something families get to do that often.

“Low-income families oftentimes don’t have an opportunity to sit and have a formal family portrait, and even if they do get snapshots, sometimes they don’t get developed into pictures you frame and hang on the wall,” she said.

“We’ve tied it to the week right after Easter. Most people get new clothes, or dresses or just new play clothes so we are encouraging people to come dressed in their Sunday best.”

Ashley Mason, a local photographer, will be taking the portraits. There will also be a raffle for a Graco Pack-n-Play.

The community baby shower is free and will be held Thursday, April 20 at Blue Jean Church on the corner of Selma Avenue and Franklin Street from 5-7 p.m. For more information, call the Dallas County Family Resource Center at (334) 874-7785.