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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Awards Grant to Reduce Accidental Infant Suffocations in Wayne County
Date:10/16/2007

DETROIT, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Following a spate of accidental infant suffocation deaths in Detroit and Wayne County, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has awarded a $25,000 grant to support a community-based initiative called "Infant Safe Sleep" to educate new parents about providing a safe place for newborns to sleep. The grant is in keeping with the company's social mission, part of which is to improve the health status of all Michigan residents, especially children.

The grant, awarded to the Tomorrow's Child/Michigan SIDS, during October, SIDS Awareness Month, aims to reduce the incidence of infant suffocations through a six-step program. The program was developed after five children, aged 27 days to three months, died of accidental suffocation over two days in late July, and another five suffocated between Labor Day weekend and Sept. 8 while sleeping. The total includes at least eight infants who were sharing their parents' beds. Through Sept. 8, at least 35 infants in Wayne County had died due to accidental suffocation in 2007.

"In the hospital, new parents are given proper guidance by doctors and staff on safe ways to put their infants to bed, such as always putting them in cribs on their backs without toys or other objects, and avoiding bringing them into adult beds where they could be trapped between a mattress and a wall, covered by pillows or bedding, or rolled on," said Lynda Rossi, vice president of public policy and social mission at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

"However, once at home, many parents choose to rely instead on advice from friends and family members as well as cultural practices. We hope this initiative will help get the correct information to new parents to help save them needless agony from the death of a child."

With assistance from the Wayne County Department of Public Health and Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion, Tomorrow's Child/Michigan SIDS will select three target areas in
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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
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