Save a Life With Your Facebook Feed

Posted October 20, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

Cindy HutterMy typical Facebook feed includes cute photos of friends’ children, witty complaints about everyday life, assertive political commentary, jealousy-inspiring vacation posts, and pleas from friends to support a cause. My feed essentially showcases life in all its glory. But, last Thursday, it took on a different tone.

There were posts about loss—specifically infant loss.

There were stories about premature births and deaths and the challenge of technically being a mother without the living proof of the title. There were stories about grieving and learning to cope after the loss. There were stories about never really moving on, even though everyone else around the mother seemingly had.

Last Thursday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. And it worked. These posts instantly triggered for me memories of friends who suffered through pregnancy and infant loss—many via miscarriage, others from premature birth—and the struggles they faced at the time and that continue to be a part of their identities.

No one starting a family thinks a devastating loss will happen to them. But, infant loss is blind. It affects people of all races, education levels, incomes and ages. Nearly 6 of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. will die before their first birthday. That’s nearly 24,000 babies who won’t get to fill my Facebook feed with their 1st birthday cake smash photos or their 12-month sticker photos.
SIDS Awareness Poster

At NICHQ, we’re working with states to reduce infant mortality rates. While some of our strategies require huge transformative system changes that take a lot of time, other strategies rely on “simpler” education campaigns. For example, we know that more than 14 percent of all infant deaths in the U.S. are attributed to sudden unexpected infant death syndrome related to unsafe sleep practices. By educating families about safe sleep environments, many—if not all—unsafe sleep environment-related deaths can be prevented.

You—yes you, unsuspecting reader—can have a role in prevention. It starts with education.

Here is what you need to know
There are three standards (or ABCs) for safe sleep:
  • Alone: Babies should sleep solo with no blankets, stuffed animals, crib bumpers or sleep positioners.
  • Back: Babies should be placed on their back for every sleep.
  • Crib: Babies should always sleep in a crib. Never share a bed and avoid extended periods of routine sleep in a car seat, bouncy seat or swing.
Now that you are educated, you can help to raise awareness of others.

Here is what you need to do
Go fill your friend’s Facebook (or Twitter or Instagram) feeds with any of these messages. It’s as simple as copy and paste.
  • Parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death, such as accidental suffocation. Find out how to create a safe infant sleep environment. #SafeToSleep
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death among babies 1 month to 1 year old. Find out what you can do to reduce your baby's risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death, such as accidental suffocation. SHARE to let others know. #SafeToSleep
  • There are many things parents and caregivers can do to help a baby sleep safely. How many can you name? For a complete list of safe sleep recommendations, visit the Safe to Sleep® website. #SafeToSleep
  • Too many babies die because of unsafe sleep environments. Do you know the right way to put a baby to sleep? #SafeToSleep
  • What does a safe sleep environment look like? Come see. #SafeToSleep
  • Here’s a photo op that could save a life—reduce #SIDS risk by having a safe sleep environment. #SafeToSleep
While Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is only a day, and SIDS Awareness Month is only a month, education and awareness have lasting effects. By working together through the power of social media, we can save more babies.

Cindy Hutter is the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications at NICHQ.


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