While the format of this year’s Grayson County Health Department Community Baby Shower may have been altered due to COVID-19, that did not stop it from drawing a strong turnout.
Historically, the annual Community Baby Shower has been held indoors, but the health department made the decision to convert it into an outdoor, drive-thru format, held in the Centre on Main parking lot, this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Free for expectant parents, as well as parents of babies 12 months old or younger, this year’s Community Baby Shower sought to shed light on the importance of safe sleep to an infant’s development.
Jenny Cummings, a community health educator with the Grayson County Health Department, said that, when parents are educated on infant safe sleeping practices, it drastically reduces the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
To drive the point home, the health department set up four stations for parents to visit in their vehicles and be educated on the “ABCs” of safe sleep.
Cummings said those are that infants should sleep alone (A) on their backs (B) in a clean, clear crib (C) in a home free from danger (D), such as drugs.
According to Cummings, the health department brought enough handouts for 75 participants and had given them all away within 20 minutes of the event opening at 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. Among the items given out to participants were formula kits, library books, disposable diaper kits, and “Tummy Time” mats for exercises that help strengthen infants’ neck muscles.
The event would not have been possible without the health department’s HANDS program, a voluntary home visiting program that assists parents with early child development, Cummings said.
Expectant parents and parents of children up to 3 months old may register for the program, which is not income based, and, after doing so, HANDS representatives will offer parents their support until their child turns 2 years old.
“We could not do this without the HANDS program,” Cummings said.
For more information about the Grayson County HANDS program, visit graysonhealthcenter.com/hands or call 270-259-3141.