New crib program aims to battle infant deaths in Wyandotte County

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - The main causes for infant deaths in Kansas are birth defects, low weight and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which many times is caused by not positioning a baby properly in their crib.

Wyandotte County ranks the highest in infant deaths in the nation.

For moms like Micheala Woods, getting her five-month-old Amiar to sleep is fairly easy; it's getting her a crib to lie in that's a challenge.

"I don't actually have a lot of money so; I had to end up getting my crib from my six-year-old sister," Woods said.
A new crib can cost $400, which isn't exactly within Wood's budget.

"I work at a fast food restaurant, so no, it's no enough," she said.

She prefers a hand-me-down over having Amiar sleep in other, possibly dangerous spaces.

More than 300 babies die in Kansas before they turn one. That number has gone down slightly among whites and Hispanics, but when it comes to African Americans, it's actually gone up by 32 percent.

"I just found it kind of shocking," Regina Weir, who works for Safe Kids Metro KC and the Mother and Child Coalition said about Wyandotte County's ranking.

Weir specializes in safe sleep for infants.

"I thought, ‘Wow, what can we do?'" she said.

She and her team at Safe Kids Metro KC got a grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
They'll use that money to give out 60 cribs to parents and teach them how to use them correctly.

"When people are living in poverty it's kind of a deciding factor whether they buy a crib, food for their families, utilities," Weir said.

Weir thinks cribs are the key in giving more babies like Amiar a chance to celebrate more than just one birthday.
The crib program is expected to begin in January.   

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