“Infant mortality” is the number of infants who die before their first birthday. From 2005-2008, there were more than 800 fetal and infant deaths in Milwaukee. For every 1,000 births, 11 infants died. Black infants were three times more likely to die than white infants. In 2009, there were an additional 122 infant deaths and a substantial portion of these were preventable, including those attributed to unsafe sleep.
Milwaukee’s first Safe Sleep Sabbath is set for Sunday, October 9, 2011. On this day, pastors of all churches and faiths across the community are asked to use the power of the pulpit to alert their congregations to the troubling infant mortality statistics in Milwaukee and share critical – often misunderstood – information to promote safe sleep practices for infants.
The Safe Sleep Sabbath is being planned cooperatively by Mayor Tom Barrett and the City of Milwaukee Health Department, Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital and Church of God in Christ Churches of the Northwest Jurisdiction (COGIC). Columbia St. Mary’s and COGIC have been working collaboratively to improve the health of church members and the health of the communities served by the churches.
The mayor and more than 50 clergymen from various Milwaukee-area churches and faiths met for an informational session at Columbia-St. Mary Hospital. Still, more pastors and churches are encouraged to participate in the October 9 event.
Churches that would like more information about Milwaukee’s first Safe Sleep Sabbath may contact Bill Solberg of Columbia St. Mary’s at 414-270-4921 or visit safesleepsabbath.org
Organizers hope that churches will act now to overcome one major problem that is killing our babies: infant sleep death.