When the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously in December of 2010 to approve new mandatory crib standards to ensure safe sleeping for infants, the Indiana Association for Child Care Resource and Referral (IACCRR) knew that replacing the current cribs would be a challenge for Indiana child care providers. Hundreds of cribs in child care centers and child care homes in Indiana needed to be replaced to meet the new standards. At an average cost of $255 per crib, providers who couldn’t afford to purchase new cribs were faced with the possibility of no longer being able to provide infant care.
Knowing that Indiana couldn’t afford to lose slots for infants who needed child care, IACCRR decided to take action. Using CCDF funds, they formed a partnership with crib manufacturer Foundations, Inc. and Lowe’s Home Improvement. Infant/toddler specialists went to child care sites to identify cribs that needed to be replaced. Foundations, Inc. built new cribs. Lowe’s delivered them and then destroyed the old cribs that didn’t meet safety standards to prevent them from being resold or given away.
In all, 678 cribs in 29 Indiana counties have been replaced through the initiative. “We knew the need was there,” says Lisa Henley, Director of Child Care Quality Initiatives for IACCRR. According to Henley, a follow-up survey with the providers indicated that some would not have been able to continue to provide infant child care without the financial help in replacing the cribs.
The IACCRR contributed to more than just new cribs, however. Every provider who was supplied with a new crib was also required to attend training on safe sleeping practices for infants. “We wanted these new cribs to be the safest sleep environments possible. Having a compliant crib is only part of a safe sleeping environment for babies,” Henley notes.
Now, supplied with a new crib, the most up-to-date information on safe sleep, and a certificate of compliance to show that their cribs meet the new standards, 86 providers in Indiana are better equipped than ever before to care for Indiana’s youngest children. And thanks to the effort, Indiana parents can sleep easier knowing that their infants are sleeping safer.