June 10, 2020 / Unsafe Sleep Prevention

Children’s Board purchases 1,452 pack n’ plays for hurricane preparedness

The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County has purchased 1,452 Pack n’ Plays to create safe infant sleep environments for infants during hurricane evacuations. In partnership with Hillsborough County’s Emergency Operations Center, the Children’s Board is preparing for the 2020 hurricane season.

The pack n’ play cribs will be deployed to Hillsborough County emergency shelters. Families with infants will be able to use the pack n’ play cribs at no cost during their stay at an emergency shelter related to a natural disaster.

Pack n’ play cribs are one way to prevent an infant from dying from unsafe sleep. Parents and caregivers can prevent an accidental death by always following the ABCs of safe sleep: Alone, on their Back and in a Crib – even during a natural disaster like a hurricane or tropical storm.

Any family with an infant or toddler is urged to include a pack ‘n play crib to their hurricane supply lists and evacuation kits.

“It is critical that parents remember to add a Pack ‘n Play as a part of their hurricane preparedness. Our goal is to keep infants safe and remind caregivers to practice the ABCs of safe sleep: Alone, on their Back and in a Crib,” says Kelley Parris, the Executive Director with the Children’s Board.

In the last five years, 157 children have died due to infant unsafe sleep in the Tampa Bay area. There is often an increase in infant unsafe sleep deaths during natural disasters, like a hurricane. Accidental infant deaths happen when parents and caregivers forget, or don’t know how, to plan for safe sleep as part of hurricane preparedness.

The Children’s Board used emergency funds to purchase the pack ‘n play cribs, which are stored at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. Hillsborough County Emergency Management department will deploy the portable cribs to emergency shelters across Hillsborough County with other emergency supplies when a hurricane threatens the Tampa Bay region.

Listen to the Children’s Board talk about the hurricane preparedness efforts on “PM Tampa Bay.”