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GA First Lady Sandra Deal visits Rockdale Medical Center

Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal and Director of the Division of Family and Children Services Bobby Cagle visited Rockdale Medical Center's Birth Place Thursday as part of a state-wide tour to highlight the importance of immunizing children and healthy sleeping practices.

July is Immunization Awareness Month in Georgia, and First Lady Deal and Cagle advocated the need for children to get immunized to prevent diseases such as polio, whopping cough and the measles from spreading.

As part of this initiative, the First Lady visits hospitals around Georgia, handing out greeting cards and talking to parents about the importance of immunization in their newborn children.

First Lady Deal wanted to "prevent what we went through when I was a child. I had whooping cough and I had mumps and my sister had measles. We were miserable. We can prevent all that if we have shots. It protects them and protects other children... We want those children to have the opportunity to grow up safe and healthy."

She visited new parents in the Birth Place, handing out cards and talking about the importance of immunizations. She also talks to parents about talking to their children to help develop the child's vocabulary and early reading skills.

Cagle was focusing on the proper sleeping practices, to have newborns sleep on their back and have parents avoid sleeping in the same bed as their baby.

Rockdale Medical Center is a 138-bed acute-care hospital fully accredited by The Joint Commission, which evaluates hospital patient care for quality, safety and value. Rockdale Medical Center is part of LifePoint Hospitals, which operates more than 60 hospital campuses in 20 states.

Deal was also in town to promote the First Steps program, a program of Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale provided in partnership with Rockdale Medical Center. First Steps, which is funded by the Hospital Authority of Rockdale County and the Office of Prevention and Family Support of the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services, offers support, educational materials and community resources to new parents that can assist families in the early months of parenting.

Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale is a non-profit provider of prevention and intervention services in both Rockdale and Newton Counties. It was established in 1989 to prevent child abuse through increased awareness and education.