Despite their necessity, good, safe, affordable cribs can be very hard to come by for needy families. Eastman Institute for Oral Health social work, and pediatric dentistry residents participated in the annual Safe Crib and Car Seat Project, distributing 50 cribs, mattresses and crib sheets to pre-screened families through participating prenatal and parenting outreach programs. During the event, pregnant women were given the opportunity to learn about family planning, baby safe sleep, healthy neighborhoods, child safety and other issues including oral health and breast feeding.
Since 1993, volunteers have raised money and donated their time to secure safe, high quality cribs and car seats for families who have no other resources to obtain them. The Safe Crib and Car Seat Project is one of only two groups in the country dedicated to giving safe cribs and car seats to needy families.
Social Worker Lenora A. Colaruotolo and pediatric dentistry residents Drs. Chris Dixon and Karim Kanani were available to help these soon-to-be moms understand the critical importance of good oral health for themselves and their babies.
Along with providing hygiene products, educational materials, and referral information for families without a dental home, EIOH professionals counseled the women on how brushing, flossing, eating healthy foods, and getting dental checkups and treatment will help keep them and their baby healthy. They also learned how they can best take care of their baby’s gums and teeth, along with giving their baby healthy foods, and taking their baby to the dentist by his or her first birthday.
“Families were engaged, appreciative, and asked good questions,” Colaruotolo said, “they have a sincere interest in giving their children the best possible start in life and a healthy smile.”