The city’s Administration for Children’s Services is giving out free wearable baby blankets to help families keep infants warm and safe this winter.
After confusion about how the distribution worked, with at least 10 of the 16 ACS locations not immediately understanding the details when reached by phone Wednesday, more than two dozen blankets were handed out, an ACS spokeswoman said.
They remain available to the public at all the locations, and if anyone is unable to get one, they are encouraged to contact the ACS main office.
“If you have an issue, please contact 212-341-0900 and we will make sure you are provided with a blanket as soon as possible,” an ACS spokeswoman said in a statement.
The blankets are part of the ACS’s Safe Sleep initiative, which educates parents on how to prevent sleep-related deaths. Every year, about 50 babies in New York City die because of where or how they were placed to sleep.
“We know especially when it gets cold like this, there can be a great temptation from parents to bring babies into bed with them to sleep,” ACS Commissioner David Hansell said. “There can be a temptation to put blankets or quilts on their babies in their cribs to keep them warm — totally understandable actions, but unfortunately, they’re actions that are just not safe for babies.”
The safest way for infants to sleep is often referred to as the ABCs: They should sleep alone, on their backs and in cribs. If parents are concerned about their babies staying warm, they should get one of the wearable blankets or put them in an extra layer of clothing.
To get one of the blankets, parents can go to the following locations:
- 492 1st Ave. (this location is open after 4 p.m. on weeknights and all day/night on weekends)
- 150 William St., 4th floor
- 55 W. 125th St., 12th floor
- 2501 Grand Concourse, 4th floor
- 1200 Waters Pl.
- 974 Morris Park Ave.
- 1274 Bedford Ave., 1st floor
- 185 Marcy Ave., 2nd floor
- 404 Pine St., 4th floor
- 2554 Linden Boulevard, 1st floor
- 345 Adams St., 9th floor
- 19 Grant Sq.
- 165-15 Archer Ave., 1st floor
- 90-25 161st St., 3rd floor
- 92-31 Union Hall St., 3rd floor
- 350 Saint Marks Pl., 5th floor
ACS also gives the blankets to new parents at the city’s public hospitals.
The agency’s launched its Safe Sleep Team in 2015 to create more awareness around sleep-related deaths. Data on whether the number of infant deaths has decreased since then was not immediately available.
The ACS is waiting to get the data from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Hansell said. “We hope to have that information soon,” he said.