In launching the B’more for Healthy Babies Campaign, the Family League and its partners wanted to make a compelling case about infant mortality and what it takes to keep babies safe – something to capture the public’s attention.
Among those the campaign enlisted was Dearea Matthews, a north Baltimore resident whose son Charlie died in late 2009, only one month after he was born. Matthews agreed to tell her story in a moving video featuring two other Baltimore mothers who lost babies.
If I had a chance to go back to December 29th, knowing what I know now, I probably would have changed a lot of things
In the video, Matthews describes waking up with her husband to find that Charlie, who was in the bed with them, wasn’t breathing.
“If I had a chance to go back to December 29th, knowing what I know now, I probably would have changed a lot of things,” she says in the video, which promotes safe-sleep practices for parents and other caregivers, including instructions to always place a baby in a crib, not in a bed. “For you to be asleep with your baby, it’s not a good idea. It’s not worth a child’s life.”
Matthews agreed to tell her painful story to help educate other people and, she hopes, reduce the number of babies dying in Baltimore. The video has been widely screened. More than 15,000 people serving jury duty at Baltimore City Circuit Court have viewed it, and hospitals in Baltimore are showing it to new mothers before they leave with their newborns.
“It’s something no one should ever have to experience,” Matthews says. “You can never replace that child you lost. It’s something you have to live with every single day.”