October is SIDS Awareness Month, bringing attention to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and methods to promote safe sleeping for infants. SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old. The exact cause of SIDS is unknown.
During the month of October, many parents of babies born at a Bon Secours hospitals across Virginia will receive the children’s book, “Morrie and Dorothy,” which promotes safe sleep and offers some measures to protect babies from SIDS. The book was written by Jeffrey J. Lefko and is illustrated by Sherrie Molitor. The book will be provided to as many parents as supplies allow in October.
“We know that a hardcover children’s book, especially in instances when the new baby has older siblings, will be kept and referred to with far greater regularity than pamphlets,” said Kerrissa MacPherson, MNS, women’s and children’s service line coordinator, Bon Secours Mercy Virginia Health System.
“Morrie and Dorothy” cleverly incorporates safe sleep information into a sweet and empowering story about storks and pelicans delivering babies to their new homes. Another important message of the book is about understanding and respecting the different capabilities that are unique and special to each individual. The last few pages of the book include the most recent safe sleep information from the Centers for Disease Control in an easy-to-read format.
According to the CDC, there are approximately 3,500 sleep-related deaths among U.S. babies each year. Some key recommendations that have greatly reduced deaths from SIDS over the past 20 years include putting the baby on its back to sleep, eliminating hazards in the bed such as pillows and stuffed toys, and putting the baby’s crib or bassinet in the room with parents for the first 6-12 months of life.
The safe sleep information in “Morrie and Dorothy” is provided in both Spanish and English. “We are very pleased to provide this helpful, family-friendly book to as many parents of October babies as possible,” added Ann Heerens, M.D., director of neonatal intensive care for Bon Secours Health System. “It’s a gift that could just possibly save a baby’s life.”
About Bon Secours:
As one of Richmond’s largest employers, the not-for-profit health system employs more than 9,000 people, including nearly 420 providers as part of the Bon Secours Medical Group. Bon Secours Richmond includes St. Mary’s Hospital, Memorial Regional Medical Center, Richmond Community Hospital, St. Francis Medical Center, Rappahannock General Hospital and Westchester Emergency Center. The Bon Secours Richmond Health Care Foundation raises charitable funds to help Bon Secours Virginia Health System address the community’s growing health care needs with compassion and excellence.