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Ideal Present

This holiday season, give thanks by giving back to an organization that helps keep your littlest customers safe.

From A Christmas Carol to It’s a Wonderful …

This holiday season, give thanks by giving back to an organization that helps keep your littlest customers safe.

From A Christmas Carol to It’s a Wonderful Life, we’re often reminded that the holidays are a time to take stock of our many blessings in life, from family and friends to food and shelter.

Perhaps that’s because it’s also a time when our losses feel more acute, when we can’t help but miss the loved ones who are no longer with us. I’m sure it’s especially true for parents who have lost a child—a tragedy that’s all too common in the U.S., says First Candle CEO Chris Blake. “The U.S. infant mortality rates rank an embarrassing 43rd in the world, behind countries like Slovakia and Cuba,” he said at our Earnie Awards ceremony on Oct. 20, imploring the retailers and manufacturers present to help First Candle in its efforts to help save babies’ lives—an effort that’s working. As a key partner in the national Back to Sleep campaign, the organization has been credited with helping to save more than 25,000 babies’ lives during the past decade alone, amounting to a drop of nearly 60 percent in the U.S. SIDS rate.

But there’s still more work to be done. “Each and every day, 13 babies will be lost to SIDS and other sudden, unexpected infant deaths; more than 70 new parents will have listened sadly to their stillborn baby’s silence; and countless lives will be lost to miscarriage and other causes of infant death,” Blake points out. That’s where you can help.

As members of the children’s product and apparel industries, we’re in the perfect position to educate parents on the importance of a variety of factors that help reduce stillbirth and SIDS, from proper prenatal care to safe sleep environments—and especially the latter. One quick fix you can make today: Make sure all of the cribs, bassinets and play yards displayed in your store and on your website are safe for baby. That means no pillows, toys, blankets or bumpers. Sure, it may look cute to deck out your store’s cribs with adorable knickknacks, but it’s sending the wrong message to your shoppers. As a new parent, it’s already hard enough to cut through the clutter of advice, but you can help make it easier by sending a consistent message: A bare crib is always best. And, follow the footsteps of Toys“R”Us, which added safe sleep information to its website.

Other ways to help? Take a cue from companies like Regal Lager and Delta Children, who are partnering with First Candle to implement safe sleep campaigns. Thanks to a grant from Delta Children, pregnant moms on military bases around the country will receive cribs, diapers and lifesaving safe sleep messages. And with help from Regal Lager, safe sleep workshops will be developed and made available to day care providers, where babies are at an unusually high risk for SIDS. Right now, First Candle is looking for funds for its Safe Sleep in Hospitals campaign, which would ensure new moms and dads are fully educated on the importance of safe sleep before heading home. And while parents are certainly a key demographic when it comes to imparting the importance of safe sleep, there’s still an array of other caretakers who may need an update, from teen sitters and siblings to grandparents. As Blake notes, “When it comes to safe sleep practices, consistency of care from parent to caregiver is critical. It only takes one time for a baby to be placed on its stomach or in an unsafe sleep environment for the unthinkable to happen.” In other words, support for caretaker education programs would provide a huge boost for overall safe sleep awareness.

Here at Earnshaw’s, we are proud to partner with First Candle this year to help spread the message—by encouraging our industry friends to join in, and by keeping an eye on the images in our magazine. Bare cribs are best when it comes to our photography, too. If you would like to learn more about First Candle’s crucial mission, please visit www.firstcandle.org.

After all, what better way to celebrate the holidays than to help save the lives that are at the very heart of everything we do?

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