National Campaign to Address Photos of Babies in Unsafe Sleep Environments in the Media
Adherence to First Candle’s Safe Sleep Image Guidelines Can Help Prevent Infant Deaths
[Baltimore, MD – October, 2012] First Candle, a leading national nonprofit dedicated to infant health and survival, today announced the launch of its most recent campaign to help educate parents and caregivers on the importance of safe sleep in preventing infant deaths. Every year, more than 4,500 babies die without warning before reaching their first birthday. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if the revised 2011 safe sleep recommendations set forth the American Academy of Pediatrics and First Candle had been followed. The campaign calls on everyone who creates or uses photos of babies, or products intended for sleeping babies, to pledge adherence to First Candle’s lifesaving Safe Sleep Image Guidelines.
Today’s moms and moms-to-be rely a great deal on the Internet, print and broadcast media to inform their childcare and parenting practices. In many cases, the visual message is more compelling than the content. Yet a recent study showed that in magazines targeting women of child-bearing age, more than one-third of the images showed babies in unsafe sleep positions and more than two-thirds showed babies in unsafe sleep environments.
“These statistics are alarming,” says First Candle CEO Kelly Mariotti. “This tells us we need to do a better job of helping parents understand why safe sleep is important and what they need to do to protect their baby during sleep. When the visual messages conflict with what they are reading or being told, it reduces the validity of the message and can be confusing.”
Campaign participants will be asked to “Sign the Pledge” and become a First Candle Media Star. Recognition will be provided for their philanthropic and educational efforts on behalf of babies and families. Mariotti continued, “By working together, we can ensure that every baby is given the best possible chance to survive and thrive.”