Educating first responders on infant safe sleep has immediate impact

A LOCAL RESIDENT and her infant welcomed back the East Chicago Fire Department responders who came bearing a gift pack-n-play. The responders had answered a call to her home earlier in the week, during which they shared new educational training on safe sleeping practices with the mother.

Mental Health America of Northwest Indiana (MHANWI) is training first responders to help reduce infant mortality with the Direct On Scene Education (DOSE) program. DOSE, is a program that teaches parents and caregivers how to safely put their baby to sleep to reduce the risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). In this training, first responders learn to identify and educate families of safe sleep practices to reduce the risk of infant mortality.

“Mental Health America of Northwest Indiana is committed to reducing infant mortality, reducing adverse childhood experiences and increasing early childhood education,” said Victor Garcia, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at MHANWI. “We’re excited to partner with Lt. Sharp of the St. John Fire Department to bring the DOSE program to first responders throughout Lake County.”

The week of February 11, the St. John Fire Department and MHA of NWI completed a training session with the East Chicago Fire Department.

That same week, the East Chicago Fire Department answered a call and saw that an infant was sleeping on an air mattress. The crew immediately used their new training educating the family on safe sleep practices and provided them with a free pack-n-play, giving the baby a safe place to sleep.

East Chicago Fire Department’s Fire Chief Anthony Serna was happy to have the new training in place.

“I think it’s a great idea to educate the community and deliver information on the wealth of services Mental Health America of Northwest Indiana offers,” said Serna.

The East Chicago Fire Department wants to provide a workshop at one of the community centers to further the message of “it’s all about the babies.”

“We’re very excited that our new partnership with East Chicago Fire Department will lead to meaningful support for East Chicago families,” said Garcia, “Chief Serna has been a great champion in reducing the infant mortality rate in East Chicago, and we’re thankful for his leadership.”

For more information visit to learn about the Infant Safe Sleep program and other services MHANWI offers to help ensure the health and well-being of infants.

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