August 25, 2017—This fall, SCAN of Northern Virginia is expanding its Operation Safe Babies program to include baby boxes and education through the Baby Box Co. and Baby Box University. Expecting parents will be able to go to www.babyboxuniversity.com and participate in an interactive educational training designed to make sure they know about safe sleep, breast feeding, how to use the baby box, and other important health and developmental information. After successfully taking a quiz at the end of the online training, expecting parents will receive a certificate good for one Baby Box filled with a few supplies for baby. SCAN is currently the only distribution site in Northern Virginia.
Virginia launched a statewide Safe Sleep initiative at a launch event on August 23, 2017. At that event, Carl Ayers, Director of the Division of Family Services at the Virginia Department of Social Services, said that safe sleep related deaths are the leading cause of infant deaths, age 1 month to 1 year, in Virginia. In an effort to reduce this tragic statistic here in Northern Virginia, for the past two years, SCAN of Northern Virginia has led a partnership with a dozen other local agencies to distribute more than 700 pack-n-plays to low income families in need of a safe sleep environment for their baby. By becoming a Baby Box Co. distribution site, SCAN will be able to engage with even more parents, not only to share information on safe sleep and abusive head trauma, but also to connect them with the numerous parenting resources offered by SCAN. The Back to Sleep campaign was launched in 1994 by the National Institute of Health. And even though we know that back to sleep is best and reduces the instances of SIDS/SUID (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome/Sudden Unexplained Infant Death), only 49% of mothers always put their babies on their back to sleep (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/too-parents-still-put-babies-at-risk-of-sids/). This program is not all about the box, it is about engaging parents and caregivers and talking about safe sleep.
At SCAN, we believe that every child deserves love and nurturing as they learn and develop. We also believe that parents truly love their children and want to be good parents; but we also know that parenting can be tough. Many parents feel isolated in the difficult job of parenting and need information, skills and support to become positive, nurturing influences in their children’s lives. Our partnership with the Baby Box Co. will allow us to continue to be an accessible, useful source of parenting information, support and connections among families and those who influence families throughout Northern Virginia.
Parents who are interested in the Baby Box University should go to www.babyboxuniversity.com . If you are interested in learning more about Operation Safe Babies and would like to volunteer with the program, please contact Tracy Leonard, Public Education Manager at [email protected].