Anonymous Corporate Donor Provides $10,000 to Purchase Safe Cribs in Oakland and Alameda County

Keeping Babies Safe Uses Grant to Purchase 66 Safe Cribs

Oakland, California – February 19, 2015 – Keeping Babies Safe (KBS), a non-profit organization that promotes safe sleeping practices, is providing cribs for low-income families recommended by UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and the Alameda County Public Health Department through a $10,000 anonymous corporate grant.

The grant money supports “Project Safe Crib,” in which KBS purchases cribs that meet the highest safety standards and donates them to low-income families. The cribs are brought to the families’ homes and set up by staff members at participating health and human services agencies. All families receiving cribs are educated about safe-sleep practices for their babies.

“Without the support of such generous supporters, KBS would not exist,” said Joyce Davis, president and founder of the organization, who lost her four-month-old son to a preventable crib accident. “Because of the commitment of this California-based company to our youngest children, we can be assured there will be 66 babies in Northern California sleeping in the safest cribs available on the market.”

Since 2007, KBS has donated more than 8,000 safe cribs nationwide.

Davis said cribs are the leading cause of death and injury among all juvenile products. In the last two years, there were 138 infant deaths associated with cribs and baby mattresses. The majority of deaths are from adding extra bedding in the crib. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there are about 20 million unsafe cribs in the United States either being used or are being stored for future use.

Bonnie Lovette, a pediatric nurse practitioner who runs the injury prevention program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, said she works with a low-income population in which many infants are placed in unsafe sleep environments.

“The families often do not have anywhere for infants to sleep other than in the parent bed and often with other children,” Lovette said. “Behavior can be modified with learning opportunities and we decided to start a safe sleep program. What we could not offer was a safe place for a baby to sleep and our families could not provide it. We began a partnership with Keeping Babies Safe and are now able to receive free, grant-funded cribs.”

Through KBS, families are educated about a safe sleep environment and watch an educational video.

“The families have been grateful to receive a new crib,” Lovette said. “The crib is easy to set up, safe, and is small enough to fit into a tiny apartment, a shelter or a motel room where many reside. We believe the cribs will decrease the number of preventable infant deaths that we see in this community.”

Since 2003, KBS has urged Congress to enact federal legislation requiring safe crib standards. As a result, new standards for safe cribs were included in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The law went into effect nationwide on June 28, 2011 and the name of Davis’ late son, Garret, who died as an infant due to the addition of a supplemental mattress to a portable crib, was included in the bill. All new cribs now meet important safety standards; day care centers and other public facilities cannot use cribs that do not adhere to the new standards.

Davis said a major focus of KBS is to educate new parents about the dangers of supplemental mattresses in soft-sided play yards. While such mattresses are advertised as being suitable, they can put a baby at risk of suffocation. KBS is now working to pass a federal law that would ban the sale of supplemental mattresses for play yards and create a new standard and warning labels that would prevent consumers from using supplemental mattresses with a soft sided play yard.

In addition, KBS is working to pass a federal law that would require hospitals and birthing facilities to provide new parents with information on crib safety.

Keeping Babies Safe was founded in 2006 by Lee Baxter, Jack Walsh, and Joyce Davis. Lee Baxter (now deceased) had served as the Western Regional Director of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for 37 years. Jack Walsh, Director Emeritus of KBS, was recently honored with a prestigious award from the American Society for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM) Committee F15 on Consumer Products. ASTM International is one of the largest international standards development and delivery organizations in the world. Mr. Walsh received the award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the advancement of voluntary standards for consumer safety products.

For more information, please contact Jonathan Jaffe at 973.315.0300 or jonathan@jaffecom.com.