In an effort to combat Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), D.C. Health created the Safe Sleep Program to benefit new mothers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 3,600 sudden unexpected infant deaths in the United States in 2017. The D.C. Department of Health has created a comprehensive program to educate the community and provide valuable resources to the public.

The CDC recommends a safe sleep environment that consists of an empty crib covered with only a fitted sheet. Babies should be put to bed on their backs, with no toys, blankets, or extraneous comfort devices that could lead to accidental suffocation.

D.C. residents can register for a free educational session on proper sleep hygiene for their infants. Each mother or caregiver is eligible for a free portable crib upon completion of the training.

baby, CDC

Courtesy of the Centers for Diseas Control and Prevention

To participate in the program, you must register for an infant sleep training course. You can do so over the phone and receive a free portable crib by calling the center designated for your District ward:

  • CentroNia (Habla español) Ward 1 at (202) 332-4200
  • The Northwest Center (Habla español), Ward 1-8 at (202) 483-7008
  • East River Family Strengthening Collaborative, Ward 7 at (202) 397-7300
  • Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative, Ward 8 at (202) 889-1425

Please keep in mind that the free cribs are not available at the D.C. Department of Health and that to be eligible to receive one, you must be a D.C. resident and a mother or primary caregiver to an infant.

For more information about the Safe Sleep Program, go to the official D.C. Health website. You can also call (800) 666-2229 and speak to someone about your concerns or questions.

What are your thoughts on this public health initiative and the CDC's recommendations on safe sleep environments? Let us know in the comments!