By Dylan Deprey
As lunchtime rolled around, hungry nurses and doctors sidestepped the cafeteria for the day and mingled with the community, as they made their way to parking lot for a meal on four wheels during the first annual Aurora Sinai Medical Center Food Truck Fundraiser on Sept. 13, 2017.
Lines of scrubbed up and dressed up Aurora employees wrapped around the five local food trucks, which included: Hidden Kitchen Milwaukee, Yellow Bellies, Jamaican Kitchen & Grill, The Gouda Girls and Punjabi Accent.
The proceeds from the event went towards Aurora’s Safe Sleep/Safe Ride program, which provide safe sleeping environments and car seats to families born at the hospital who cannot afford them on their own. Whether it was a Philly cheesesteak, ahi tuna taco or traditional Jamaican jerk chicken, the event was also a way to bring awareness to the community about Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Each year thousands of babies die suddenly and unexpectedly in the United States, and SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies one month to one-year-old, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Nearly half of all SUID cases are attributed to SIDS, an unclear cause of death, but are also attributed to known causes like sleep related deaths like suffocation.
“We seem to have a rise in (SUID) in the Milwaukee community and especially in this zip code,” said Connie Plevak, RN at Aurora Sinai Medical Center. “We want to reach out to the community, so they can be aware of things like safe sleep techniques with their babies, but it also gets people asking, ‘What can I do to help with this cause and how can I contribute?”
Plevak said the direct line of information for young parents begins in the hospital, and Aurora Sinai strive to provide families with the latest and most innovative ways to prevent the death of their precious baby.
Research and awareness over the past three decades have improved infant mortality rates, yet African American and American Indian/ Alaskan Native babies are at higher risk for SIDS than Hispanic American, Asian American and white babies.
There are easy steps that can easily prevent SUID and SIDS, like placing babies on their backs on a firm safety-approved crib covered by a fitted sheet without loose bedding or soft toys while they sleep, or simply ensuring the baby lives in a smoke-free environment.
Cathy Scharles, RN at Aurora Sinai, worked the information desk and passed out pamphlets, in multiple languages, with tips for parents and community members to pass on to new mothers and fathers.
“We have lots of babies born here every day, and it’s a tragic thing when the babies go home and they don’t have a place that is safe,” Scharles said. “So, we’re just trying to pass on the information and educate the community.”
Plevak said that Aurora Sinai is working with UWM to research and educate the community to prevent the loss of a loving bundle of joy.