A Swanton couple turned the tragic death of their infant son into an opportunity to help other parents avoid this devastating loss.
Tiffany and Chad Hood donated $8,000 to ProMedica health system for 4,000 onesies, one-piece T-shirts worn by babies, at ProMedica Toledo and St. Luke’s hospitals.
The onesies with the inscription “Naptime, nighttime, I sleep safer alone, on my back, in my crib” were unveiled Thursday in honor of the Hoods’ son, Nashton, who was almost 4 months old when he fell victim to sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, last year.
The Hoods raised the money with a 5K race at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark last October, which was dedicated to their son and other SIDS victims.
“We wanted to give something tangible,” Mrs. Hood said.
The onesies will be given to newborns at ProMedica hospitals to help educate parents about the best way to keep their babies safe.
The simple advice on the onesies could reduce infant deaths, said Dr. Kent Bishop, medical director of women’s services at Toledo Hospital.
“The biggest issue is not putting something in the crib with the baby. The grandparents want to put the babies on their bellies and that obviously is not the way to go and that’s the hard thing to break because not only do you have to train the mom, you have to train the grandparents and the other caregivers,” Dr. Bishop said.
Each week three babies in Ohio die because of unsafe sleeping environments, according to the Ohio Department of Health. That’s 156 tragedies a year.
The state’s infant mortality rate puts Ohio 47th in the nation, and among Ohio African-Americans, Ohio is 49th.
Dr. Bishop attributes the racial disparity to lack of education and lack of access to health care.
“When you look at it doesn’t make sense. The healthiest babies in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) are black female babies but yet they have this high mortality rate before their first birthday,” he said.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, the top three causes of infant mortality in Ohio are premature birth, serious birth defects, and SIDS.
“Once a baby goes home — from one month to 12 months — 40 percent of those deaths are sleep-related,” Dr. Bishop said.
Mrs. Hood said she and her husband are expecting a baby who is due around July 17. Not surprisingly they are nervous and plan to follow all recommended guidelines when caring for their baby.
However, SIDS is still mysterious, and medical professionals don’t have all the answers yet about the illness, she said.
“You can do all the right things and it can still happen, so don’t blame yourself if you did everything right. Just be aware,” Mrs. Hood said.
State health professionals also launched a campaign this month to raise awareness about the sleep issue, and have established an easy way for parents to remember what to do: the ABCs of Safe Sleep — put babies to bed Alone, place them on their Backs, and in a Crib.
Dr. Bishop said it’s best for parents to sleep with the baby in their room, in a separate crib, bassinet, or playpen in the first year.
Contact Marlene Harris-Taylor at: