MOSES LAKE – A pilot project in Moses Lake sponsored by Community Health Plan of Washington is geared toward promoting safe sleep for babies.

Community Health Plan has teamed up with Moses Lake Community Health to offer the “Baby Box” program, available to patients who receive Medicaid.

A recent study found that only about 44 percent of mothers intentionally placed their babies to sleep in their back. Julie Keeffe, a registered nurse and project coordinator, said the program was created to educate parents on “safe sleep habits” for the first six months of a baby’s life.

“The Baby box is our latest and greatest innovated program,” Keeffe said. “This is a pilot program right now. This innovative program is focused primarily on educating parents about the importance of practicing safe sleep habits. Those safe sleep habits are what can prevent infant deaths related to suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.”

Safe sleep habits include always placing an infant on their back, removing items like blankets, toys and crib bumpers, and having the child sleep on a firm mattress, Keeffe said.

One expecting mother was taken through the program on Wednesday, which included watching a brief educational video with staff from Moses Lake Community Health’s Maternity Support Services.

Included in the Baby Box, which can be used as a bassinet itself, is a mattress and fitted cover, onesies, socks, mittens and a hat, a bit, washcloth, thermometer and a sleep sack, along with educational information.

The Baby Box program started in July at the Moses Lake Community Health Center. Mothers receive the boxes in their third trimester of pregnancy as a “newborn starter kit,” Keeffe said.

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