Thursday , January 11, 2018 - 4:30 AM
Ivan Garcia looks for clothing for his 6-month-old daughter, Victoria, at the Teddy Bear Den at Midtown Community Health Center in Ogden on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. The Teddy Bear Den allows new and expecting parents to earn points from check-ups and doctor visits. These points can be exchanged for free baby supplies.
Sometimes, a woman needs help finding affordable prenatal care, or a family with a new baby can’t make ends meet without assistance.
When the Teddy Bear Den helps those women, babies and their families, it makes the entire community stronger.
About 1 in 10 Utah babies are born prematurely, according to the state health department. Preemies — born before 37 weeks — die at higher rates than full-term infants. They also run a greater risk of neurological disabilities, the Utah Health Department reports.
The costs mount quickly.
A preterm infant born without complications spends three times longer in the hospital than an infant carried to term. A preterm infant with complications spends more than seven times as long as a healthy full-term infant.
Data shows that in 2014, the average hospital charge for a Utah preemie was $73,796. For a full-term infant, it was $2,933.
That kind of bill can destroy a family.
So, in 2013, the March of Dimes Utah Chapter joined with Weber State University’s Professional Business Leaders Chapter to open the Teddy Bear Den at Ogden’s Midtown Community Health Center.
The Teddy Bear Den encourages healthy behavior in pregnant women by awarding them credits for eating right, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, seeing a doctor and taking prenatal education classes. Women can easily find affordable care at the health center, a private, nonprofit clinic.
“As a community-based clinic, we believe that excellent, accessible healthcare services should be available to everyone — regardless of their background or circumstances,” the clinic says on its website.
Mothers can continue to participate in the program through a child’s first birthday, receiving credits for the baby’s health checkups and vaccinations. Those credits can then be used to purchase diapers, baby clothes and hygiene supplies.
It all helps. Because when a baby is healthy, a family can focus on finding worthwhile jobs, buying homes and becoming part of a thriving economy.
That makes all of us stronger.
Help build a healthy, vital community. Support the Teddy Bear Den.
HOW TO HELP
The Teddy Bear Den welcomes donations of the following:
For more information or to volunteer, call Kathie Robinson at 801-395-8209. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.