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HOPE Network's Portable Crib Program

Today, the leading cause of infant mortality in the U.S. is primarily due to complications of prematurity. In Milwaukee, the second leading cause is SIDS, which is often related to unsafe sleep. The majority of babies who have died of SIDS-related causes in Milwaukee were in an unsafe sleep situation.

True unexplained Sudden Infant Death Syndrome may be prevented some day through science. Meanwhile, there are steps that loving parents must take to prevent babies dying while sleeping. Parents must provide a safe sleep environment.

To that end, HOPE Network provides portable cribs ("Pack 'n Plays") to single mother families living in the greater Milwaukee area who cannot obtain a crib from other sources. Pack 'n Plays can be taken wherever the baby needs to be cared for, and are convenient for smaller living spaces.

There are various resources in Milwaukee and Waukesha that provide safe sleep education and cribs for needy families, such as the City of Milwaukee Health Department (for city residents). Mothers delivering at St. Joseph Hospital or Columbia St. Mary's Hospital will find it convenient to receive the safe sleep education and crib as they leave the hospital. If none of these resources can help, HOPE Network can provide a Pack ‘n Play (see qualifications below).

Some Notes on Safe Sleep

A Type of "Co-Sleeping" that may be fatal to your baby

Bed sharing co-sleeping refers to an infant sleeping in the same bed, couch, or other surface where parents or others are sleeping. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants not share a bed with parents or anyone else, due to proven hazards. The City of Milwaukee Health Department strongly advises parents NOT to share a bed with their infant.

A Type of "Co-Sleeping" that may be good for your baby

Room-sharing co-sleeping refers to infants sleeping in the parents' room, but in their own crib or bassinet. The American Academy of Pediatrics 2005 Policy Statement states that the "risk of SIDS has been shown to be reduced when the infant sleeps in the same room as the mother."

No cushions... and nothing but the baby in the crib

Even sleeping alone on the couch, babies can suffocate when their noses become "stuck" between the cushions of a couch. Even sleeping alone in a crib, babies may suffocate in loose bedding, blankets, or stuffed animals.

Back to sleep

To avoid suffocation, babies are safest when laid to sleep on their backs.

How do I qualify for HOPE Network's Portable Crib Program?

  • You must be a single mother, and not able to easily obtain a crib from other community sources.

  • You must join HOPE Network for $5 annual membership dues, so that you can experience the other benefits of HOPE's programs.

  • You must complete the application, make an appointment, and participate in a Safe Sleep/Parenting education session. During the session, you'll watch a short safe sleep video, receive safe sleep/parenting materials to take home, and watch a demonstration on setting up your Pack 'n Play.

  • You must provide a professional reference, such as a caseworker, nurse, teacher, social worker, or clergy member who can verify you are a single mother in financial need.

Download a Portable Crib Program Brochure/Application