Pinellas Nonprofit Helps Babies Sleep Soundly this National Infant Safe Sleep Month

Annie Mapp | WFLA News Channel 8

Oct 26, 2023

October is National Infant Safe Sleep month and in a 10-year-period, officials report Pinellas County lost more than 100 healthy babies from unsafe sleep practices.

The Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County works to decrease those numbers through its Sleep Baby Safely campaign.

Each year, the nonprofit delivers nearly 7,000 bags to area hospitals filled with life-saving, sleep items for parents. The baby bags include a Sleep Me This Side Up onesie, a sleep sack and educational materials.

Vilma Kubisiak is a local mom who received a bag at a hospital.

“It was super helpful, we had a bag with sleep safely, the sleep slack,” Kubisiak said.

On Wednesday, St. Petersburg Fire Rescue first responders helped pack nearly 1,000 bags to support the campaign. Captain Garth Swingle says following the safety tips can keep a family from having to call 9-1-1.

“We’re going to be there no matter what but to get involved with this early and prevent that from happening is beyond words,” said Capt. Garth Swingle.

The Juvenile Welfare Board shared three lifesaving tips for sleeping babies:

  • Follow Safe Sleep ABCs: Alone, Back, and Crib – meaning, always lay your infant on an empty crib, by themselves and on their back.
  • Share a Room, Not a Bed: Keep your child in same room as an adult, but don’t share a bed.
  • Stay Alert While Feeding: Set an alarm in case you fall asleep and always return baby to crib afterwards.

View the video segment, featuring interviews with Capt. Garth Swingle of St. Pete Fire rescue, JWB Director of Strategic Communications April Putzulu, and local mom Vilma Kubisiak, who received a Welcome Baby Bag when daughter Vilma was born: