THE BLOG

Making A Difference: A World of Giving - Providing a Healthy Start for All Babies

07/22/2013 01:01 pm ET | Updated Sep 21, 2013
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Not many newborns arrive into this world with 24-hour news coverage and months of worldwide attention. But Will and Kate's baby has already grabbed the spotlight, as all eyes have turned to St. Mary's Hospital in London in order to welcome the newest member of the royal family.

There is no doubt that this royal baby will be well cared for and well loved. Not only is he/she entering this world third in line for the throne of England, he/she will having loving parents and grandparents to offer support and care.

Unfortunately, not all children enter this world with such love in place. The University of Michigan's National Poverty Center estimates that 16.4 million children in the U.S. were living in poverty in 2010, with a disproportionate number coming from minority backgrounds. That does not even include the 25,000 infants that the CDC reports die each year before reaching their first birthday. Six out of every 1,000 newborns in the U.S. alone die from premature births, SIDS, injuries or birth defects caused by improper prenatal care and nutrition.

In order to have a healthy start to life, each newborn needs a safe place to live and a supportive caregiver. For the past 75 years, March of Dimes has been committed to "stronger, healthier babies" from pregnancy to infancy, while providing the best resources for new mothers. Their organization, which was founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to fight the polio epidemic, is now one of the greatest fundraisers for all issues related to early childhood and motherhood.

On an international level, the UN's commitment to infant health helped launch UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund), which provides assistance for children and mothers in the developing and third world. Each Halloween, American children go Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF, and these kids alone have raised $170 million since 1950 in order to provide a healthier start for newborns. In the United States, several great organizations have started to help newborns who are born into poverty, and lack the essentials like proper nutrition, clothing and shelter. For example, Project Night Night provides 25,000 care packages each year to children born into homeless families. These packages include items that help with the emotional and educational needs of newborns, which are often neglected when a child is born into poverty.

There is no shortage of ways that you can help give each newborn the very best start in life. Here are five tips or ideas:

1) If you or someone you love is expecting, share with them healthy prenatal tips from places like the CDC.
2) Since UNICEF estimates there are more than 120,000 orphans in the U.S. and millions more overseas, the need for nurturing families has never been greater. If you feel you and your family are capable of adopting and raising a child, look at resources such as Pearl S. Buck Adoption International or AdoptUSKids. You could be Making A Difference by giving a child a new start in life.
3) Consider donating to an organization like March of Dimes or UNICEF, because your contribution will go directly to helping infants and young mothers both here and abroad.
4) Consider becoming a foster parent to newborns; you can begin by working through the process in your state.
5) Be supportive in word and deed of newborns' parents; remember everybody is a "rookie" parent with their first born.

The arrival of the newest member of the royal family has put the media into 'baby frenzy.' But infants all over the world need help every day in order to have the very best start in life. Look for ways you can be Making A Difference for children around you, and around the world, today!