Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Wednesday signed legislation designed to help lower infant mortality rates in the state.

“Lowering Michigan’s infant mortality numbers has been a focus since the beginning of our administration. Unsafe sleep deaths are 100% preventable,” Snyder says in a release. “The passage of this bill shows a strong bipartisan commitment to the well-being of our state’s children while helping families avoid loss and grief.”

House Bill 4962, sponsored by state House Health Policy Committee Chair Gail Haines, requires hospitals and health professionals to provide parents readily available information and educational materials regarding infant safe sleep practices following the birth of a  child. The materials must also explain the risks associated with unsafe sleep environments.

Rep Haines says: “Awareness is going to be a huge tool in the fight to improve maternal and child health. As of today, mothers who leave the hospital and doctor’s office will now be better equipped to make decisions that affect the health of their newborn baby. I’m proud to have collaborated with the Governor and First Lady on this important priority.”

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) and the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) will continue working together to ensure all educational materials contain the most current information. If requested, the MDCH will provide materials to a hospital or health professional at no cost.

“At DHS, protecting Michigan’s most valuable resource—infant children, the hope for the future—is our greatest duty,” says Maura D. Corrigan, DHS director. “No one is more vulnerable and more treasured than our babies. This law will help keep more Michigan babies safe while they sleep.”

Additionally, the bill requires the MDCH and DHS to work with other state and local governmental agencies, community organizations, nonprofits, and other healthcare and human services providers to maximize resources and expand the scope of education regarding the risks associated with unsafe sleep and emphasize the importance of proper and best infant safe sleep practices.

The bill is now Public Act 122 of 2014.

For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/safesleep.