Lack of affordable and safe childcare is a contributing factor to sleep-related infant deaths

It’s well known that there is a childcare crisis in this country.  But this week a new report from Office of Economic Policy lays out how “broken” the childcare system in this country truly is.

The report states:

Currently, the average family with at least one child under age 5 would need to devote about 13 percent of family income to pay for childcare, a number that is unaffordable for most families. Less than 20 percent of children eligible for one of the largest federal assistance programs for low-income families, the Child Care and Development Fund, actually receives funding. Notwithstanding the high costs borne by parents, margins for childcare providers are low and many struggle to make ends meet. They survive by keeping costs low. Labor, the main input, is overwhelmingly provided by women, many of whom are nonwhite, who earn low wages leading to high turnover. Many childcare workers are paid so little that they rely on public services for their own economic needs. 

Perhaps most disturbing, according to the report, roughly one-half of Americans live in “childcare deserts,” or areas with one daycare spot for every three children in need of care.  Parents who must work are forced to come up with solutions to this issue that can often be risky for a baby. Older siblings are relied upon to care for a baby and might not understand the risks of allowing a baby to sleep on an adult bed or in a carrier.  Home daycare providers facing financial hardships will have fewer safe places for a baby to sleep and utilize older, possibly recalled items.

Parents need access to affordable, quality care for their babies.  We are committed to helping educate not only parents but other relatives and childcare workers on ways to create a safer sleep space for babies in order to prevent Sudden Unexpected Infant Death.

Our training program, Straight Talk for Infant Safe Sleep, is available to care providers, community members and health care providers.  Many of our trainings are underwritten but corporations and grants along with individual donations.  For more information on how you can support our work please visit our website