Louisiana Healthcare Connections began giving out "Safe Sleep Survival Kits" to pregnant women in North Louisiana in 2019.
This region of the state had a high infant mortality rate.
"One of the most common causes of infant death in the first year of life is SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)," Dr. Stewart Gordon, chief medical officer for Louisiana Healthcare Connections, said. "The reason that many babies can die from SIDS is by not being in a safe sleep environment."
Gordon said seven out of ten children born every year in Louisiana are Medicaid eligible at birth.
"That speaks to the amount of poverty that we have in our state."
While many of us do not think twice about being able to provide our infant with a crib or safe place to sleep, Gordon said it is a constant worry for others.
"Everybody wants the best for their child, right," Gordon said. "It just takes one thing off an expectant mother's plate. With the amount of poverty that we have, to get something free, that means that we care about you and your baby. It takes the worry off the plate of having an unfortunate, untimely death in the first year of life."
Since they started the program, Gordon said they have seen a reduction in infant mortality in north Louisiana. By the end of 2020 he said there were 70 fewer infant deaths.
"If every one of those children has a safe sleep environment when they're born who know what they'll become when they're born," Gordon said. "This gives them that opportunity to grow and develop healthily. That's what this is all about."
These "Safe Sleep Survival Kits" are just one step in protecting infants; education is another.
Gordon said it is something they will continue to offer to help bring the percentage of infant deaths because of SIDS down to zero.
For more information on this program: