Indy firefighters join fight to keep more babies alive

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Some firefighters in Marion County are better prepared to educate new mothers on safe sleeping habits for their babies.

The Decatur Township Fire Department now has safe sleeping kits on all of its trucks for first responders to use on runs similarly to how they educate families on working smoke detectors.

“So many times when 911 is called we’re headed there and we are behind the eight ball,” Decatur Township Firefighter Megan Thiele said. “Bad things have already happened so this time we’re trying to prevent those bad things from happening by being proactive and giving this education.”

The kits include literature for families as well as wearable blankets.

“We want to be proactive because no firefighter, no first responder wants to go on a pediatric run where there is a dead child,” Thiele said. “That’s just the bottom line. We don’t want to do it.”

Indiana ranks high among states for infant mortality and lawmakers have recently made efforts to improve those statistics.

Governor Pence signed legislation last year that provided $11 million to municipalities across the state for programs to educate new mothers on safe sleeping habits for babies. This program is a product of that funding.

Health experts say good sleeping habits for babies include never letting yourself fall asleep with your child and remembering babies should always sleep in a crib with a firm surface and without blankets, pillows or toys that could choke the baby.

For more information on safe sleeping habits for your child visit the Indiana Department of Child Services’ page on safe sleeping.

Note: A previous version of this story misstated the percent of babies that do not live to the age of 1 year old. According to the Indiana State Department of Health, about .7 percent of babies do not live to see their first birthday. 

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