Free Text Service Advises Parents

Yu Shing Ting
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Friday - February 16, 2011
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Elizabeth Brauher

Elizabeth Brauher, who is expecting her first child in March, got a text message last Wednesday saying, “Your baby will be here soon and it’s time to get a car seat because the hospital won’t let you leave by car or taxi without one.”

The message was not from a family member, friend or doctor, but from text4baby, a free mobile information service offering pre-conception, prenatal and infant health tips through phone text messaging.

Brauher already has the car seat checked off her list, but earlier this month she received another text message reminding her to find a pediatrician, for whom she is still searching.

“Find your baby a doctor now,” it read. “Your baby needs to start going to a doctor right after birth.”

Text4baby launched nationally last year, and has grown to include more than 100,000 subscribers. The messages are developed by the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration.

And soon, through a $1.3 million federal grant given to Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii from the U.S. Department of

Health and Human Services, the text4baby service in Hawaii will be the first text4baby service in the nation to feature customized messages with local resources and contact information.

The grant money also will be used to create a team of trained community ambassadors who will lead grass-roots outreach to at-risk, underserved populations statewide; as well as enhancing the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies website.

Women who sign up for text4baby by texting BABY to 511411 will receive free weekly texts (even if the subscriber does not have a text messaging plan) with timely information based on their child’s expected date of birth.

For more information, call 737-5805.


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