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Firefighters work to fight more than just fires across South Bend

It’s safe to say firefighters and EMTs don’t just fight fires these days. Some local emergency responders recently received training and it wasn’t on their daily duty to fight fires. Instead, they got training that could save your child’s life and they say it’s as simple as remembering ABC.

According to the American Health Rankings Annual Report, just last year, Indiana had one of the highest infant mortality rates in the Midwest with more than 7 deaths per 1,000 infants under the age of one year old.

Knowing this, the firefighters and EMTs with the Clay Fire Command Training Center on Auten Road collaborated with the State Department of Health. They brought in professionals, a firefighter and nurse out of Florida, who created a program called the Direct On Scene Education program, or D.O.S.E., to train other emergency responders. Those emergency responders were taught to identify when a child is living in a home during their response, and then train parents and caregivers on how to create a safe sleeping environment for babies.

Fire Marshall Dave Cherrone with the Clay Fire Department says that while the initial reason for their response always takes priority, firefighters and EMTs will often respond to other situations such as a fall or non-emergency where they have time to talk about this important subject in a family’s home.

“When they go in for a call, maybe you called and said you broke your ankle, firefighters and ambulance personnel also are coming in. They’re going to be taking care of the person that needs the help. Somebody else is going to look around and go ‘hey here’s some signs that an infant might be living here’ and say ‘can I give you some information on how it can help your child sleep safer? Can we see where they sleep’?,” said Cherrone.

So what do those ABC’s stand for anyway?

“The child should sleep Alone, on their Back, in a Crib. That means no toys, no blankets, no pillows, that they’re in there by themselves, sleeping on their back and in a crib, not in swings, not in car seats, not in your bed. So that’s the point that they’re educating everybody in the household and to make sure that this kid gets past his first birthday, preventing a reason for us to come back,” said Cherrone.

Here are the tips you’ll find on those packets handed out during those emergency responses:

Do put your baby to sleep on his/her back
Do put your baby in a crib for naptime/bedtime
Do use a firm crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet designed for specific product
Do put your baby’s crib in the same room as your bed (room-sharing)
Do use a pacifier for sleep

Don’t put your baby to sleep on his/her stomach
Don’t use a car seat, swing, bouncy seat, stroller, infant carrier, or infant sling for routine sleep
Don’t use blankets, pillows, or bumper pads in the crib
Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby (co-sleeping)
Don’t use sleep positioners


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