Upcoming Community Baby events are Oct. 12 (shower) and Oct. 19 (first birthday)

Black babies are dying in disproportionate numbers and two community organizations are working to turn the tide.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Sedgwick County has the highest five-year rate of infant mortality in Kansas, with a disproportionate number of those deaths being African American. In fact a Black baby born in Sedgwick County is three times more likely to die than a White baby.

Several groups in Wichita have taken up the banner to fight sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, by offering two unique community celebrations – a baby shower and baby’s first birthday party.

Community Baby Shower

The Wichita Black Nurses Association, in partnership with the KIDS Network have hosted the Community Baby Shower for Safe Sleep for the past 11 years.

The event for expectant mothers is held twice a year. The mission for the baby shower is to educate expecting parents about safe sleep habits, a practice that has proven to help reduce sudden infant deaths.

The next Community Baby Shower will be held on Oct 12, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Boys & Girls Club, 2400 N. Opportunity Dr., Wichita, and all expectant mothers in Sedgwick County are invited to attend. Pre-registration is not required.

“It started out of necessity. We knew there was a problem with SIDS in our ZIP code (67214), but we didn’t know how to go about fixing it. So the Black Nurses and a few members of the KIDS Network came together to try and bring some change,” said Brenda Davis, RN, MS, CRRN.

Davis, is a long-term member of the Wichita Black Nurses and a co-founder of the event. Since the group began holding the showers, the rate of SIDS deaths in 67214 has decreased from a “red” alarm rate to a lower orange level.

On a first-come, first-served basis, expectant mothers who attend the shower and engage with the vendors, will receive a free safety-approved pack-n-play crib, courtesy of KIDS Network, and a Sleepsack donated by Wesley Medical Center.

Among the vendors and presenters will be: Healthy Babies, WIC, and Baby Talk, who will be offering certificate for free prenatal classes.

Celebrate Day 366

Celebrate Day 366, a birthday party for baby, is sponsored by Kansas Sisters & Brothers for Healthy Infants, in partnership with the KU School of Medicine-Wichita.

Their third annual celebration on Oct. 19 will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All new and expectant mothers and fathers, caregivers and family members of children age 2 and under are welcome to attend.

Kansas Sisters and Brothers for Healthy Infants includes members of graduate and alumni chapters of historically Black fraternities and sororities who’ve come together to spread awareness of the importance of prenatal care.

Lunch will be provided, followed by empowerment sessions, which will focus on the African-American IM, fatherhood, and maternal health. The aim for the annual event is to bring awareness to prematurity and low birth weight risk factors.

The event will be hosted at Saint Mark United Methodist Church located at 1525 N. Lorraine St. in the lower-level family life center.

The first 25 guests will receive gift cards. Everyone who attends can participate in the birthday party, and have a chance to win door prizes and giveaways. Of course, education and resources will be available for all who attend.

Contact Kyla Morris at 316-293-1868 or by email at kmorris13@kumc.edu for more information about Celebrate Day 366.

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