BOOK JOAN

Keeping Babies Safe

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Joan Lunden

Children's Health / / October 21, 2010

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Today I was a part of a press conference with the Consumer Safety Products Commission (CPSC), The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and a wonderful organization called Keeping Babies Safe.

I have a rather unique perspective on baby safety, since I had my first three children in the 1980s and then about 20 years later I had my next 4 children. When my oldest daughter Jamie was born, who just turned 30, I had just started as host of Good Morning America and I brought her to work with me each day. That was fairly unheard of at the time. I had a nursery at the studio and I would bundle her up each morning at 4am for the ride in to the city. Awareness to use child safety seats in cars was just beginning, and diaper genies and warm wipes were not yet invented. We all looked for cribs with pull down sides and filled them with decorative bumpers and stuffed animals to be the best moms we could be. We didn’t know yet about the dangers of possible suffocation in cribs and playpens, or about the need for flame retardant jammies, or the dangers of BPA in our babies bottles. 

Over the next 20 years as host of Good Morning America I had to interview far too many families who sadly lost children to these kinds of safety issues. And I’m often asked what I enjoyed most about my years hosting the morning show, and I have to say it was being able to help keep Americans informed about safety issues so that they could keep their families healthy and safe.

Seven years ago I once again found myself buying cribs and strollers and decorating a nursery when my twins Kate and Max were born. I couldn’t help but notice how much things had changed. And it’s not just that we now have video monitors so that we can literally watch our babies sleep from our office desks, or GPS trackers that we can put in their little sneakers, but today we have an army of vigilant experts helping to ensure that we keep our children safe and healthy. And they are here with us today. Through the work of organizations like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the American Academy of Pediatrics and groups like Keeping Babies Safe, parents today are better informed and thus more equipped to ensure their child’s safety.

It’s especially important to have this national discussion during economic hard times, when families are trying to make their dollars stretch and it’s not uncommon to pass down older cribs and playpens to younger children. That unfortunately can be a recipe for disaster. That is why we are all here today. That is why I got involved in this public awareness campaign, to again be able to bring the latest safest information to parents across the country to keep their children safe. I want to thank the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Keeping Babies Safe for letting me be a part of this initiative. 

PRESS RELEASE:
CPSC and Child Safety Partners Launch National Education Campaign on Crib Safety for New and Expectant Parents
A Safe Sleep for All Babies

NEW YORK, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) joined three child safety organizations at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital to release "Safe Sleep for Babies," a new crib safety video aimed at helping all new parents avoid suffocation, strangulation and entrapment risks in the sleep environment. CPSC also is announcing three new recalls of dangerous drop-side cribs. 

CPSC is collaborating with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Keeping Babies Safe (KBS), NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, and renowned journalist and mom Joan Lunden to educate new and expectant parents and caregivers on crib safety while they are at the hospital or visiting their pediatrician's office. The video demonstrates how to keep babies safe and sound in cribs, bassinets and play yards. 

"Nurses will not allow newborn babies to leave the hospital without parents having a safe car seat. I also believe that we need to make sure that new parents provide a safe crib, bassinet or play yard for their babies to sleep in," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "By reaching new parents before they leave the hospital and again when they visit their pediatrician or health clinic, we hope to prevent deaths and ensure that all babies have a safe sleep."

This education effort is part of CPSC's Safe Sleep Initiative, a multi-pronged effort aimed at reducing deaths and injuries associated with unsafe sleep environments. In addition to this education effort, CPSC's Safe Sleep Initiative includes the development of new crib standards, warnings about drop-side cribs, sleep positioners, and infant slings, and the recall of millions of cribs in the past five years. 

CPSC is aware of about 30 crib deaths and hundreds of injuries. Cribs are a leading cause of nursery product-related deaths. About one-third of the deaths result from structural failures of the crib from loose, missing, or detached hardware. The majority of deaths in cribs are attributed to the presence of extra bedding in the crib, such as pillows and comforters. 

Moderated by Joan Lunden, CPSC will distribute this "Safe Sleep" video online and through its network of about 100 hospitals nationwide.

"By spearheading a comprehensive training program for health professionals on safe sleep practices and distributing the video to hospitals nationwide we will help educate new parents before they leave the hospital," said Joyce Davis, President of Keeping Babies Safe. "Also the video will be available at www.keepingbabiessafe.org."

"Annually we care for thousands of babies by ensuring their health and safety from the day they are born," said Dr. Herbert Pardes, President and CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. "I want to thank CPSC, KBS and AAP for leading this important effort to equip parents with the information they need to provide their babies with a safe sleep." NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital plans to make the video available to all families as part of their parent education programs, and provide copies to hospitals in the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Healthcare System.

"The AAP is proud to have a long history of activism on Safe Sleep issues. For decades, the AAP has been involved in the development of safety standards for cribs and bassinets, warnings about unsafe crib accessories and bumpers, and helpful practices to keep babies secure," says AAP President O. Marion Burton, MD, FAAP. "The National Safe Sleep Education Campaign gives us a new avenue for educating new and expecting parents." AAP will promote the video to its 60,000 members and will feature it on AAP's parents-focused website, www.healthychildren.org, where it will be available for download. 

"There is no greater concern for a parent than our children's safety," said Joan Lunden. "I am honored to be working with the CPSC, the AAP, and Keeping Babies Safe to bring this information to parents across America."

In order to create a safe sleep environment for your baby, the video urges parents and caregivers to follow these crib safety tips below:

  • Place infants to sleep on their backs
  • Use a firm, tight-fitting mattress
  • Never use extra padding, blankets or pillows under baby
  • Remove pillows or thick comforters
  • Do not use positioning devices – they are not necessary and can be deadly
  • Regularly check cribs for loose, missing or broken parts or slats
  • Do not try to fix a broken crib
  • Place cribs or playpens away from windows and window covering cords to avoid fall and strangulation hazards
  • Place baby monitor cords away from cribs or playpens to avoid strangulation

Today, CPSC also announced three new drop-side crib recalls. Go to: www.cpsc.gov.

Important Message from CPSC:
CPSC reminds parents not to use any crib with missing, broken or loose parts. Make sure to tighten hardware from time to time to keep the crib sturdy. When using a drop-side crib, parents should check to make sure the drop side or any other moving part operates smoothly. Always check all sides and corners of the crib for parts separating that can create a gap and entrap a child. In addition, do not try to repair any side of the crib. Babies have died in cribs where repairs were attempted by caregivers. Crib age is a factor in safety. At a minimum, CPSC staff recommends that you not use a crib that is older than 10 years. Many older cribs may not meet current voluntary standards and can have a variety of safety problems. Check if your crib has been recalled at www.cpsc.gov.

Visit CPSC's Crib Information Center for more information on Crib Safety and Recalls.
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908
SOURCE U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
http://www.cpsc.gov

About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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