Tennessee ranks 5th in the US for the number of infants who die before their first birthday, and the state’s Department of Children’s Services and Department of Health are trying to change that.
According to the DCS, among the children whose deaths were investigated between 2009 and mid-2012, at least three dozen were infants who died in their sleep. According to the state Department of Health, in 82% percent of all infant sleep deaths in Tennessee, the baby was put to sleep somewhere other than a crib or bassinet.
The Tennessean newspaper reports the East Tennessee Safe Sleep Initiative is a DCS pilot project that gives away cribs to new parents in Knox County. DCS Commissioner Jim Henry says he wants to expand that effort to all parts of the state.
The Department of Health has a similar goal to give away 250 cribs statewide.