Safe & Healthy Babies

Providing a safe environment is an essential part of caring for your new baby. Our goal is that every infant born in El Paso County has the opportunity to celebrate their first birthday and grow up in a thriving community.

Babies need to be safe at home and when they’re away from home. Here are some safety tips and local resources to help keep your baby safe and secure. Always consult your healthcare professional if you have concerns about your baby.

Safe Sleep

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is the leading cause of death among infants. To reduce the risk of SUID and help ensure that your baby sleeps safely, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the ABC’s of safe sleep for babies:

  1. Babies should sleep Alone and on an appropriate sleep surface.
  2. Babies should sleep on their Back.
  3. Babies should sleep in a Crib, free of soft objects, toys and loose bedding.

Crib Safety

Child Passenger Safety

Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death and disability of children. Car seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71%. However, around 80% or more of car seats are not used properly. The American Academy of Pediatrics and Safe Kids Worldwide recommend: 

  • Children should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible before turning them around, up to the limits of their car safety seat. This will include virtually all children under 2 years of age and most children up to age 4. Rear-facing seats offer the best protection during a crash because the whole body (head, neck and torso) is cradled by the back of the shell of the seat in a frontal crash.
  • Car seats, if correctly installed, are intended for travel and are not a safe place for your child to sleep in outside of the vehicle. 
  • Do the ‘Pinch Test  to make sure the harness is snug enough. After you buckle and tighten the harness, pinch the harness at the shoulder and if it’s snug, your fingers will slide off the webbing. If the harness is loose, you will be able to pinch the webbing between your fingers. A loose harness is not safe, so keep tightening it until it passes the Pinch Test.
  • Do not harness a child in a car seat while wearing bulky clothes or coats. When the weather is cold, take off their coat or thick covering, harness your child into their seat, then place the coat or blanket over them. Make sure their face isn’t covered so they can breathe safely.
  • Get your car seat checked! Have a professionally trained car seat technician check your car seat for proper installation. Find a car seat inspection station near you today.
  • Don’t leave your child unattended in a vehicle for any period of time, not even a minute. Tragedies are most common when a child is left unintentionally, which can occur when we get distracted by the hustle and bustle of life and established habits. Have a system in place to ensure you and any other caregivers remember your little one before leaving the vehicle.

Local Resources

Community resources are available for families who need help with a safe sleep environment, child passenger safety or other health resources for their baby.

Catholic Charities

  • Families seeking safe sleep or safe travel resources can attend an education session at Catholic Charities Safe & Secure program to receive either a free car seat or pack-n-play. No income qualification requirements. For more information call (719) 578-1222.

Free Car Seat Checks

HCP a Program for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs

  • HCP provides local care coordination for individuals from birth to age 21 who have special health care needs. This can include offering information, connecting families to resources, and working with the family to advocate for the child, identify and prioritize needs, and develop a plan to achieve personalized goals. For more information visit our website.  

Lutheran Family Services

  • Parents and caregivers learn to identify and remove common household safety hazards, increase positive behaviors and prevent difficult ones, and identify and respond to common childhood illnesses and injuries. This program is free, flexible and voluntary. For more information call (719) 368-7005 or email [email protected].

Nurse Family Partnership

  • Public Health nurses provide home visits that improve the health, well-being and self-sufficiency of low-income, first-time parents and their children in El Paso and Teller counties. Home visits begin with women during pregnancy and continue until their child is 2 years old. It is free to all women who are eligible for Medicaid and WIC and meet other income requirements. For more information visit our website.

Peak Vista Community Health Centers

  • Peak Vista's First Visitor program provides free, one-on-one support for moms, dads, and caregivers in the comfort of their own home. This program provides emotional support, connects parents and caregivers with free community resources, and shares information on health, nutrition, and safety focusing on safe sleep, head abusive trauma and important developmental milestones. First Visitor provides evidence-based materials with the focus to help make Colorado the best place to raise a child. For more information call (719) 344-6639 (English) and (719) 344-7147 (Español).

Safe to Sleep 

  • Guidance and resources for caregivers, grandparents, and medical providers on safe sleep. For more information click here.

Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you keep your baby away from smokers and places where people smoke. If you are a smoker or you smoked during pregnancy, it is important that you do not bed share with your baby. Also, keep your car and home smoke-free. Don't smoke near your baby, even if you are outside. For free resources to help you quit tobacco, visit www.coquitline.org.

WIC (Women, Infants and Children)

  • WIC provides qualifying women and children with supplemental food, education on nutrition topics, and referrals to community programs. For more information visit our website.