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Madison Faith Leaders Educating Congregations On Safe Sleep Sunday

Madison Churches Preach Safety As Part Of Dane County Safe Sleep Initiative

Baby sleeping in a crib
kcangel70 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Nearly a dozen African-American churches in Dane County on Sunday will talk about putting babies to sleep safely as part of the Dane County Safe Sleep Initiative.

Two years ago, Dane County launched the campaign on how to safely put babies to bed to prevent accidentally being smothered. Part of that effort has taken place at African-American churches, where faith leaders share safe sleep practices.

Leaders in some of Madison’s African-American churches will again do just that Sunday in the second annual Safe Sleep Sabbath.

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Carola Gaines, a member of Mt. Zion Church in Madison and part of the initiative, said health advice from the pulpit seems to carry a lot of weight. Last year, seven churches participated.

“The congregation is such an effective, persuasive way of communicating,” she said. “For African-Americans it’s one of our foundations, part of who we are. And so what a better way to get that message out.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies sleep on their backs and in their own bed. In the past five years, 24 babies have died in unsafe sleeping conditions in Dane County.

“Not in a big bed. Not in mom and dad’s bed. Not on that soft mattress. Alone, no blankets,” Gaines said.