Having a baby is wonderful, exciting, and joyous experience. If you're a parent, you also know it's unbelievably nerve-wracking. No matter how many articles or books you've read (raise your hand if you looked something up in What to Expect When Expecting multiple times per day after your first baby was born 🙋‍♂️), once the realization sinks in there is a new human being relying on you to keep them alive, it can be overwhelming, to put it mildly.

And as you also know, the worry doesn't end when they go to sleep. I couldn't tell you how many times my wife or I would peek in on our kids when they were taking a nap, or wake up in the middle of the night, go into their room, and literally put our hand on their chest to make sure they were still breathing because we felt it was too quiet in the house. Fortunately for us they always were. However, some parents aren't so fortunate.

According to the Vanderburgh County Health Department, "about 3,500 babies die in America each year from a sleep-related death," and "sleep-related deaths are the leading cause of death in infants between 1 month and 1 year of age." It's scary to think about, but thankfully the Department is offering a class to help you prevent your baby from becoming part of that statistic.

The Health Department's Safe Sleep Program offers parents of newborns and infants important instructions on the best way to put your child down when it's time for a nap, or when it's time to go to sleep for the night, including not sleeping with your baby, placing them on their back to sleep, and placing them in their crib with a tight fitting sheet over the mattress and nothing else.

Due to COVID-19, in person classes are currently cancelled, however the classes are being offered on demand. If you're concerned about being out of the house for extended period of time because of the pandemic, the Department will make special arrangements to conduct the class virtually through a video conferencing program. Those arrangements can be made by calling 812-435-2400 and asking to speak to someone in Health Promotions.

The classes run two hours or less according to the Department, and they do offer classes taught in Spanish for those who prefer it.

Registration for a class, as well as more information on the program and who is eligible to receive a free pack-and-play through the Health Department, can be found through their website.

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