Judy’s Travel Log: United Kingdom
I feel so incredibly fortunate that my work with Cribs for Kids has allowed me to travel the world. Being able to see locations such as Australia, China, Taiwan, Japan, and England has been incredible, but I am more amazed by the global sense of passion for our shared mission that I experience while speaking about Cribs for Kids out in the world. When I learned that the 2018 International Conference on Stillbirth, SIDS, and Baby Survival would be held in Glasgow, Scotland, I was overjoyed!
I came to the conclusion that a bit of sightseeing in Ireland would be in order to gear us up for the conference. I encouraged my travel partner-in-crime, and Cribs for Kids Director of National and Legislative Affairs, Judy Rainey, to ease into our whirlwind tour of the U.K. in grand fashion. We spent time sightseeing in Killarney, Galway, Bunratty, and Waterville, as we traveled the ring of Kerry, ending up in Dublin. We spent a memorable evening at Katy Kearney’s Cottage, watching live musicians and traditional Irish dancers, visited the Cliffs of Moher, and all but perfected driving on the left side of the road. We came out the other end rested and ready. Next stop, Glasgow!
Cribs for Kids was beautifully represented at the ISPID-ISA Conference. Our traveling cast of characters arrived at the University of Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Center, prepared to spread our message to attendees from every corner of the globe. Dr. Michael Goodstein, Cribs for Kids Medical Director in Charge of Research, spoke extensively about our Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Initiative, and also presented an Evaluation of the Cribs for Kids Model: A Ten Year Review of Outcomes for Pack N’ Play Use and Safe Sleep.
Our partner from Kansas Infant Death and SIDS Network (KIDS), Christy Shunn, spoke about her success in developing Community Baby Shower events to implement wide-spread safe sleep education and crib distribution. I was honored to speak about our National Public Safety Initiative, as well as introduce our Cribs for Kids Cribette to the attendees. It was great to connect with Deb Robinson, our Washington State Partner, who developed the Cops and Kids program that we represent in the Public Safety Initiative.
Over Scottish fare, we spent quality time and exchanged ideas with several partners that we consider dear friends. Dr. Carrie Shapiro-Mendoza, who was at the conference to present her findings on sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) while utilizing U-shaped Boppy pillows in the sleep area, illuminated us on her research. We caught up with Lorena Kaplan, who is doing amazing work with NICHD, and learned more about her efforts to spread the safe sleep message. Our Cribs for Kids partner, Nancy Maruyama of SIDS Illinois, updated us on her tireless work as Executive Director. Her passion and service know no bounds. And of course, spending time with Gail, Gary, Sam, and Maura Hanke, and Kate Desmond of Charlie’s Kids Foundation is always a pleasure. All being together in one place makes the jet lag and airplane food so worthwhile!
We were fortunate to also make some new friends at the Conference. I had the pleasure of meeting Maria Luisa Latorre of Columbia, South America. She is working to have Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants (SUDI) recognized as a public health problem in Columbia. She is working to educate parents and caregivers on the principles of safe sleep, and is seeing progress, but is also facing an uphill battle breaking through many generational norms. We met with Dr. Alejandro Jenik of Argentina as well. Dr. Jenik is a neonatologist and SIDS expert. He has extensively researched the cause and has published several papers on SIDS. Both showed interest in partnering to distribute the Cribs for Kids Cribette in their home countries. We hope to see our ABC message – Alone, on my Back, in a Crib, translated into their home languages soon!
The Conference came to a close with a spectacular Gala Dinner held at Kelingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The rich atmosphere of the grand hall provided a stunning backdrop to our decadent goodbye meal, where we were entertained by traditional Ceilidh dancers. We were given the opportunity to tour the museum, which houses works by Botticelli, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh. The delightful evening was magical, and truly the perfect ending to an amazing trip. I am happy to be back home, on this side of the pond, refreshed and inspired to continue on with our collective mission. Until we meet again, dear friends, may the road rise up to meet you.