Saturday, January 03, 2009

A To-Do List for the New Year

In no particular order (I was going to call it a wish list, but perhaps "to-do" list better renders the sentiment...)

1. Encourage prevention advocates to enlist the tools of social marketing. Prevention 1.0 involves making brochures and videos about "don'ts." Those tools increase awareness, but only if the intended audiences get them, read/watch them, and act upon them. For new parents, social marketing not only means leveraging the normal paths that people follow to get information, but using the "teachable moment" of birth and parenthood to best advantage. Prevention 2.0 means using tools that parents "pull" to themselves (we got a good checklist to use with babysitters and child care providers), not just brochures and videos that have to be pushed (before we left the hospital, we had to watch...).

2. Continue to reframe prevention. Parents - and caregivers - want to keep babies safe. Parents want to get some sleep. They want to console colicky babies.

3. Advocates need to embrace the social entrepreneurship model. We are making something useful: circumstances in which babies will be safer. If it's useful, why not sell it, and use the "profit" to sustain the product?...

4. Use SBS Awareness Week to increase awareness among legislators and policy makers.

5. Encourage reintroduction of federal legislation that will make a difference: the SBS Prevention Act, the Education Begins at Home Act (home visiting), and the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act (postpartum depression).

6. Develop a National Action Plan for SBS prevention. The NCHIND Strategic Plan for Targeting SIDS is a good model, and there is clearly need for research on the factors that cause inflicted injury, as well as effective and efficient ways to prevent those injuries.

7. Partner with the child care community to promote education and awareness.

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