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National Center for Parents as Teachers

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National Center for Parents as Teachers Partners in Unprecedented Public-Private Partnership to Address Rising U.S. Infant Mortality Rate

First-ever free mobile health service Text4baby provides health tips to pregnant women, new moms.

St. Louis, MO, March 19, 2010 --( National Center for Parents as Teachers announces that it is an outreach partner of text4baby – a new free mobile information service providing timely health information to pregnant women and new moms from pregnancy through a baby’s first year.

Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish) receive three free SMS text messages each week timed to their due date or baby’s date of birth. These messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health and safe sleep. Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.

An education program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, text4baby delivers timely health tips via text message to those who need it most. It is made possible through an unprecedented public-private partnership which includes the White House Office on Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Voxiva, CTIA-The Wireless Foundation, ghg (a WPP company) and founding corporate sponsor Johnson & Johnson.

“The National Center for Parents as Teachers became involved with the text4baby program because its purpose of reaching new and expecting moms aligns very nicely with our own mission to provide information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life,” says Susan Stepleton, president and CEO. “Parents as Teachers has a broad national network of families with young children and we’re excited about this new text messaging technology as a means to distribute parenting information.”

Each year in the U.S., more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday—signifying a public health crisis. The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is one of the highest in the industrialized world, and for the first time since the 1950’s, that rate is on the rise. Research shows that while 90 percent of Americans have a mobile phone fewer have access to the Internet, and texting is more prevalent among women of childbearing age.

“Mobile phones are the most personal technology device,” adds Stepleton. “They are almost always with us, making them a great tool for improving an individual’s health by reaching and engaging the broadest possible cross section of the population, particularly underserved populations.”

The text4baby wireless carriers are voluntarily providing the critical communications link of the initiative, distributing text messages to recipients at no charge. Participating carriers include: Alltel, AT&T, Cellular South, Cellcom, Centennial Cellular, Cincinnati Bell, Metro PCS, N-Telos, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon and Virgin Mobile.

About the National Center for Parents as Teachers
Based in St. Louis, the National Center for Parents as Teachers is the resource base and backbone of the largest parent education program in the nation. The nonprofit National Center oversees more than 3,000 Parents as Teachers programs nationwide as well as in Australia, Belize, Canada, China, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. For more information about Parents as Teachers, visit

About the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition
The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition is the only coalition of its kind which acts as a catalyst of change by creating partnerships among community groups, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, businesses and government agencies. The Coalition promotes optimal health for mothers and babies, and works to strengthen families and build healthy communities.

Contact Information
National Center for Parents as Teachers
Julie Mainer

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