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Firefighters receive oxygen masks for pets (copy)

Dr. Lisa Booth, of the Vale Park Animal Hospital in Valparaiso, gives first aid training for animals to the Lake Hills Fire Department in 2015 at the Public Safety Facility in St. John. The St. John Fire Department will be the site of a training Monday for the Direct On-Scene Education program to promote infant safe sleep.

Northwest Indiana first responders are invited to a training for a program that aims to prevent infant sleep deaths.

The Direct On-Scene Education, or DOSE, program trains police officers, firefighters and emergency medical specialists to be on the lookout for unsafe infant sleep conditions when responding to calls. Babies who don't sleep alone, on their backs and in a crib (the "ABCs" of safe sleep) are at a higher risk of suffocation or strangulation, public health experts say.

On Monday, DOSE representatives will be in St. John and Crown Point for the "train-the-trainers" event. Agency officials can then take the information back to their own departments to train their staffs.

Participating agencies are eligible to receive portable cribs and infant safe sleep books to distribute to parents while on calls.

DOSE was developed by Capt. James Carroll, of Fort Lauderdale (Florida) Fire Rescue. His area has reportedly seen a reduction in infant sleep deaths since the program was implemented in 2012.

Indiana has the eighth-highest infant mortality rate in the nation. Accidental suffocation or strangulation during sleep is the third-leading cause of infant death in the state.

The trainings will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Monday at the St. John Fire Department, 11033 W. 93rd Ave., and from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Crown Point Fire Department, 126 N. East St.

To register, email Kelly Cunningham from the Indiana State Department of Health at kcunningham2@isdh.in.gov.

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Health Reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.