Saturday, August 30, 2014

Health groups push texting for babies

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 8/2/2013

New mothers and moms-to-be now can receive health updates right on their cell phones via text message about their newborns, as well as updates up to their babies’ due dates or birth dates, Midge Ransom said.

The Franklin County Health Department recently received a $1,000 grant from The Kansas Early Childhood Advisory Council and Kansas Project LAUNCH to promote the text4baby coalition, a press release from the health department said.

New mothers and moms-to-be now can receive health updates right on their cell phones via text message about their newborns, as well as updates up to their babies’ due dates or birth dates, Midge Ransom said.

The Franklin County Health Department recently received a $1,000 grant from The Kansas Early Childhood Advisory Council and Kansas Project LAUNCH to promote the text4baby coalition, a press release from the health department said.

“Text4baby is a free texting service that helps provide pregnant women and new mothers, fathers, whoever, helpful hints on how to stay healthy and how to help your baby be healthy,” Ransom, Franklin County Health Department director, said. “The message comes two to three times a week and it’s all free. The cell phone companies have agreed to participate.”

States across the country are participating in the contest to get the most new and soon-to-be moms signed up, the press release said.

“An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, text4baby provides pregnant women and new moms information to help them care for their health and give their babies the best possible start in life,” the press release said.

To enroll in the program, text the word “baby” to 511411 to start receiving updates, Ransom said.

“It’ll send messages on, say, sleep or physical activity, prenatal care, developmental milestones, car seat safety — just a lot of different health messages,” Ransom said. “They also send out things that can be really valuable like recalls on products, so they send out an alert. If a crib was recalled it’ll send that alert.”

The Franklin County Health Department is partnering with Ottawa Family Physicians, Ransom Memorial Hospital, and LifeCare Center to promote the program, the press release said. For those who enroll, there also is a monthly drawing for prizes, Ransom said.

“We’re giving away a $25 gift card for the next four months,” she said. “We have gift bags if they sign up while they’re [at any participating locations] and entered into the drawing.”

Ransom said the easiest way to enroll is to text “baby” to 511411 or go to www.text4baby.org

“It doesn’t have to just be pregnant women or mothers — dads or grandparents that will be caring for young children will benefit from these messages being sent out,” she said.

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