Current and former First Ladies visit Beckley to promote "Safe S - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Current and former First Ladies visit Beckley to promote "Safe Sleep" for infants


“The current and former first ladies were in Beckley Tuesday afternoon to honor a local hospital that is working to educate parents about the importance of "safe sleep."

A proclamation from Gov. Jim Justice has made September "Infant Safe Sleep Month" in West Virginia.

The West Virginia Health Statistics Center says 34 babies die in West Virginia each year due to an unsafe sleep environment.

First Lady Cathy Justice and former First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin believe that number should be zero.

“We need to spread the word on this and I want to help any way I can throughout the state to do this," Justice said.

“I'm really excited about it because I'm still involved even after my husband left office, and I think she believes what I believe that babies are so important and that every baby that you can save is important and that it's an important issue for West Virginia because our statistics are not good in this state,” Jaeger-Tomblin said.

The First Ladies were there to honor the staff at Raleigh General Hospital for their commitment to educating parents on infant safe sleep methods.

"In the past we did want to decorate cribs with bumper pads and toys and extra blankets, and really the latest research is saying please do not do that," Tamara Abel said,

Safe sleep advocates say safe sleep is as easy as “ABC.”

A is for "alone." Let the baby sleep by his or herself, but nearby.

B stands for “back,” which is the position the baby should always sleep.

C stands for “crib.” Babies should never sleep with the parents in the bed, and the crib should be free of any blankets, toys or pillows.

“This is totally preventable,” Jaeger - Tomblin said. “So you can wipe out those statistics totally, but I think the real goal is that with everybody working together and giving that consistent message, that hopefully ten years from now, don't really know how long, that we won't even have to educate people, that everyone will know, this is the appropriate way to put a baby to bed.

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