Judy Bannon, Providing Cribs For Kids

Story and photo by Debbi Casini Klein | Audio edited by Louis D’Aria


Judy Bannon

In 1992, research revealed that sleeping babies should be put on their backs instead of their stomachs. That discovery lead to a 50 percent drop in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.

But Judy Bannon still had a major concern – what about the other 50 percent?  Why were those babies dying?

Judy was executive director of SIDS of Pennsylvania at the time and began researching that problem. What she found out was that those babies were in unsafe sleeping arrangements, causing their deaths.

“An unsafe sleeping environment is a baby who is in bed with a parent with other siblings, on couches” Judy said. “What we found out was that 90 percent of them were not in cribs. What we saw was the babies that continued to die were no longer from the affluent areas of the city, they were low income.”

With the help of Police Commander Gwen Elliott, Councilman Bob O’Connor and District Attorney Stephen Zappala, she created Cribs for Kids, beginning with 72 cribs that were immediately needed.

There has been a drastic reduction in deaths in Allegheny County, and now Cribs for Kids is being replicated throughout the country. They are now in 490 locations nationwide, with 50,000 cribs distributed and hopes of doubling that number by this year’s end.