“We need to understand what parents are thinking because it’s only then that we will be able to develop messages that resonate.” Rachel Moon, MD,

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome remains the leading cause of death for babies one month to one year of age and the rate of accidental suffocation has increased by 189% in the past decade. The risk of SIDS can be greatly reduced and accidental suffocation eliminated by following the Safe Sleep guidelines developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Statistics show that many parents are still not following these guidelines.

In 2017 First Candle launched Straight Talk for Infant Safe Sleep, an innovative program designed to address the obstacles and objections parents face and change behavior so that babies are consistently placed in a safe sleep environment. This program has been adapted from modules created by First Candle in collaboration with the National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep for Maternal Child and Health Bureau and in partnership with the US Breastfeeding Coalition.

Unlike past public outreach initiatives which didn’t recognize a parent’s unique challenges, our program facilitates a dialogue to address issues, present solutions and ultimately empower parents and caregivers to make safe choices for their baby.

Our program works with trusted community partners including social workers, health professionals and daycare providers to first educate them and then problem solve on the issues that their community of parents’ face be it housing insecurity, cultural norms of co-sleeping or lack of resources to support breastfeeding.


In surveys conducted with participants in our Straight Talk for Infant Safe Sleep:

    • 87% of participants learned new information about the Safe Sleep guidelines.
    • 75% acknowledged the program was sensitive to cultural beliefs and practices of participants.
    • 90% reported they would share this information with friends, family and other caregivers who take care of babies.