Dana Southard, Nursing Administrator for the Pennyrile District Health Department, was in studio Monday morning to talk to WPKY about Cribs for Kids, an initiative to help prevent infant mortality in Kentucky.

Dana told listeners about the Maternal Child Health Block Grant given to districts from the state that works to prevent infant deaths, educate on pre-natal care, and the prevention of childhood obesity. Cribs for Kids is part of that grant program and is a 50/50 matching grant, meaning, for every crib purchased from someone in the community, the health department also purchases a crib.The Pennyrile District Health Department has funds available for cribs, but the community must step forward and donate as well, or else the funds sit unused.

Dana then stated that the mission of Cribs for Kids is to provide cribs to babies whose families can not afford them and educate families about the dangers of unsafe sleep environments. In the US, one in seven infant deaths occur unexpectedly during sleep, in Kentucky that number is one in five. Ninety percent of unexpected infant deaths had at least one unsafe sleep factor and bed sharing was involved in over half of the sleep-related deaths in Kentucky.

The Pennyrile District Health Department wants to work with community partners to provide a safe sleep environment for infants by providing families with a Safe Sleep Survival Kit. The kit includes a portable crib, crib sheet, sleep sack, and safe sleep education materials, including an ‘ABCs of Safe Sleep’ photo magnet. The ‘ABCs of Safe Sleep’ help parents learn that infants sleep safest Alone, on their Backs, and in their Cribs.

A community donation of $100 will provide one Safe Sleep Survival Kit, which will then be matched by the Pennyrile District Health Department. Therefore, for every $100 donation, two crib kits are given to needing families in our area. All donations are tax deductible and those who donate will be recognized as community partners in the Times Leader as well as on WPKY. Community Partners that have already donated include Jake Pepper at Planter’s Bank, Tiffany Massey at Farmer’s Bank, Pagilia’s Pizza, Morgan’s Funeral Home, and Lola Baptist Church in Livingston County.

Anyone interested in donating to Cribs for Kids can call Dana at the health department at 270-365-6571. Any interested families that would like to receive a Safe Sleep Survival Kit can also contact the Pennyrile Health Department at 270-365-6571.

Dana then took some time to remind listeners that all children who will be attending school next year must have their Hepatitis A vaccine before the beginning of new school year in August. The vaccine is a two part vaccine so it’s imperative to get your child vaccinated today, or else they will not be allowed to start school in August. Dana also mentioned that all students 16 and older must get their meningococcal meningitidis booster shot before the beginning of the school year. Dana stated that this vaccine booster shot is extremely important as the meningococcal meningitidis virus can kill within 24 hours. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the health department at 270-365-6571.

You can catch the full interview with Dana Southard below.