The Shelby County Health Department is launching two free mobile apps to encourage safer baby care.
The apps, B4BabyLife and Baby2Sleep, are part of the health department's ongoing Safe Sleep Campaign. The campaign is designed to improve safer sleep habits for infants. Users text SAFE SLEEP to 90105 to receive regular educational alerts. The apps are free to Android and iPhone users.
Why the emphasis on Safe Sleep?
According to the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), eliminating preventable sleep-related deaths would improve the state's infant mortality. In 2012, Tennessee had the fifth highest infant mortality rate in the nation.
TDH’s 2012 report indicates that 121 infants died from sleep-related deaths statewide. Shelby County accounted for 30 such deaths. This is as a result of parents not adhering to the ABC’s of Safe Sleep: Babies should sleep Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib.
“The mobile app Baby2Sleep specifically addresses these factors and educates everyone on what to do and not do,” notes Elizabeth Hart, public information officer with the Shelby County Health Department. The app also has a calendar that will be regularly updated with local information about events of interest to moms and caregivers, says Hart.
The health department’s second new app, B4BabyLife, focuses on what everyone should know before, during, and after pregnancy. It includes information on prenatal care, breastfeeding, exercise, nutrition, ways fathers can help, and local resources.
Since 98.7 percent of Tennessee babies are born in hospitals, TDH partnered with hospitals to help spread the word. Participants include Baptist Hospital for Women, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Methodist Germantown, Methodist South, St. Francis, and the MED.
Consistent messaging and consistent modeling is the key to saving babies from sleep-related deaths. Such deaths are preventable, health officials say. Parents simply need to improve practices around how babies are put to sleep.
Similar campaigns are underway regionally — TDH, SCHD, Healthy Shelby, MS Department of Health and AR Campaign for Healthy Children — and many are co-branded campaigns where each links to the others for more information, notes Hart.
“We are working collectively as a community to ultimately reduce the county’s infant mortality rate,” concludes Hart.
Be good to your baby, download B4BABYLIFE and BABY2SLEEP today.