LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday signed new legislation aimed at protecting Michigan’s youngest citizens.

House Bill 4962, the Infant Safe Sleep Act, will require hospitals and birthing centers to educate parents about safe sleeping practices. Snyder was joined by families of infants who died because of unsafe sleep as he signed the package of bills.

Nurse Sharice Lee, attended the bill signing to honor the memory of her daughter, Layla Michelle.

“I always felt that if m child was in distress, that I would know; that my maternal instinct would just immediately kick in, and I would know how to handle it,”  Lee said. “But it did happen to me; and it can happen to anybody.”

Under the new law, if requested, the state will provide materials to hospitals or health professionals at no cost.

Snyder said the law will help Michigan to have a “systematic” way of educating people. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Gail Haines of Lake Angelus.

According to state government statistics, as many as 150 Michigan babies die each year from unsafe sleep conditions.

Dave Ackerly with the State Department of Human Services, says education and awareness is key to lowering those numbers.

“In the medical community there’s been a much better awareness, and we know when that happens that it’s going to transfer over to patients,” Ackerly told WWJ Health Reporter Sean Lee.

“And this is another step,” he said. “This particular bill is another big step in that particular prevention direction.”

For more on the state’s infant safe sleep education program, visit this link.

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