JCPH helps educate new parents with ‘Safe Sleep’

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Safe Sleep and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) Awareness Month is right around the corner in October.

     Jones County Public Health (JCPH) coordinates the local Safe Sleep Project, collaborating with Jones County Community Partnerships for Protecting Children (CPPC) and the Jones County Family Council.

     The goal of the Safe Sleep Project is to provide a safe sleeping environment for infants in order to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, and accidental death.

     In April 2018, JCPH took over the program when the former CPPC director stepped down.

     Those who reach out to JCPH for assistance with the Safe Sleep Project receive a free pack and play, fitted sheets, pacifiers, a Halo Sleep Sack, and a bedtime book.

     In addition, JCPH and their partners help to educate parents of infants about safe sleeping practices.

     “When we distribute the kits to the families, we go over materials with them to help reduce SIDS,” explained JCPH Coordinator Jenna Lovaas.

     That education entails explaining why smoking in the home is not safe health practices for the baby, and that the use of pacifiers are known to reduce SIDS.

     Lovaas said the Jones County Safe Sleep Project is modeled after the program WIC uses in Cedar Rapids.

     In order to qualify for the program, several requirements must be met:

     • Parents must not already own a crib and/or pack and play.

     • Applicants must be more than 28 weeks pregnant or have an infant under the weight guidelines for a pack and play.

     • Parents must be covered by Medicaid or be at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

     • Parents must not be involved with a DHS child protection case.

     Each year, Lovaas said it costs about $1,200 to successfully carry out the Safe Sleep Project. Roughly 10 kits are delivered each fiscal year, at a cost of $120 each.

     Last year, JCPH received a $750 Theisen’s grant to assist with the program. Lovaas plans to reapply for the same Theisen’s grant again this year.

     “In theory, we’d love to expand the program more,” offered Lovaas.

     In addition to grants, JCPH also receives funds from CPPC, which not only support the Safe Sleep Project, but also the Points Program.

     Anyone who wishes to support the program can view their Amazon wish list. Lovaas explained this is to ensure that any donations of items are kept consistent from kit to kit. As always, monetary donations are welcome, too.

     Safe Sleep kits are only given to Jones County residents.

     “The most beneficial are babies under 6 months or pregnant parents,” Lovaas said.

     If a child is older and in need of a safe sleeping environment, JCPH can refer them to other resources such as Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP).

     “Sleep in Heavenly Peace typically serves kids 3 years and older,” noted Lovaas.

     JCPH sees its referrals for the Safe Sleep Project from SHP, the local WIC clinic, and Lutheran Services of Iowa.

     You can find out more about the Safe Sleep Project by visiting


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