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Raising funds for a good night’s sleep

  • May 8, 2014

TORONTO - A good night’s sleep never did anyone harm. A bad night’s sleep killed 48 babies in Ontario in 2012.

The Catholic Children’s Aid Society doesn’t think any mother should have to expose her baby to the risk of sudden infant death just because they haven’t got another $400 for a proper crib. For Mother’s Day the CCAS’s Hope For Children Foundation is raising $50,000 to make sure all the mothers and babies they deal with can afford a safe sleep environment for the little one. They’re calling the May 11 campaign “Sleep Tight.”

Often families that have already spent money on strollers, playpens, car seats and more look at the $400 price tag for a real crib and think the playpen looks good enough, said CCAS health specialist Jennifer Miles.

“That $400 is a lot of money,” Miles told The Catholic Register. “When we are sharing information about what is the best sleep environment for their children, all moms want the best for their children. I haven’t met a mom yet that doesn’t want that for her children.”

The health specialists who counsel young mothers aren’t imposing some fussy, silly requirement on low income families. Their advice about cribs is based on recommendations of the Canadian Pediatric Society and Health Canada.

“It has been fairly well researched,” said Miles. “There are specific risk factors considered to be risks for sudden infant death or sudden unexpected death in infancy.”

The CCAS workers have come across low income families who put their babies to sleep in car seats, strollers, laundry baskets, on couches, in an open drawer and more. Mothers often take their babies to bed with them because they can’t afford a crib.

Bassinets and cradles are fine for a newborn, and usually cheaper than a crib, but it’s only a temporary solution.

“A baby can’t stay in them until they’re two or three years old. They may be a solution, but they’re not a permanent solution,” said Miles.

In 2012-2013 the CCAS took $42,000 out of its Hope For Children Foundation to buy cribs for 110 young families. But rather than constantly draining the foundation, the CCAS would like to foster a separate fund just for the purpose.

Miles can’t figure out why cribs are so expensive. But she’s shopped and it’s just a fact that anything that meets pediatric society standards is pricey.

Safe sleep shouldn’t be a privilege of middle class babies, according to Miles.

For $400 the CCAS gets the crib, a firm mattress, a tight fitted sheet that the baby can’t pull up and tangle with and a sleep sac. Sleep sacs are what doctors recommend a baby should have instead of sheets or blankets that can end up covering a baby’s face and interfering with breathing. They come in swaddling, standard, early walker and big kid models that will take an infant from newborn to two years old.

The CCAS’s crib supplier will also deliver and set up the new crib.

To donate the price of a complete safe sleep kit, or even just $25 to provide a sleep sac, go to the Hope For Children web site at or call (416) 395-1634.

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