Strengthening Children, Families & Communities

Juvenile Welfare Board Executive Director Op Ed

Longtime R'Club Child Care, Inc. partner, the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, recently weighed in on recent events involving the death of an infant due to co-sleeping. Dr. Marcie Biddleman, JWB Executive Director, shares information to keep children safe. For even more information check out

Tampa Bay Times

January 1, 2017

Mom jailed in sleeping baby's death | Dec. 22

Steps to keep infants safe

Recent news coverage in the Tampa Bay Times about an infant co-sleeping death in Polk County brings to light a very tragic but little-known fact: More infants die in adult beds than anywhere else.

Since 2010 in Pinellas County, a total of 62 babies have died from sleep-related suffocation or asphyxiation. This was either due to where infants were put to sleep (in an adult bed, futon, sofa or air mattress) or the position in which they were put to sleep (on their fronts or sides, instead of the approved sleep position, on their backs). Adult beds and co-sleeping ranked as the No. 1 culprit.

The Pinellas County Preventable Child Death Planning Team urges all parents, relatives and caregivers to follow and share these safe sleep tips for a baby's first year of life:

• Always put babies to sleep alone on their backs in their own bassinets, cribs or pack-n-plays.

• Use a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheet, and remove all toys, blankets and bumper pads.

• Room share — don't bed share. Move the baby's crib or bassinet into the parents' room for the first year.

• Use a sleep sack or one-piece sleeper to keep the baby warm, not a loose blanket.

Join us in putting an end to infant sleep-related deaths, which are preventable. Together, let us celebrate every child's first birthday.

Dr. Marcie Biddleman, Clearwater

The writer is executive director of the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, writing on behalf of the Pinellas County Preventable Child Death Planning Team.



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