In her third trimester of pregnancy, Dalia enrolled in the free Welcome Baby program at Maternal and Child Health Access (MCHA), which works in partnership with California Hospital Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Living with her husband, a 21-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son, Dalia reported to her MCHA home visitor that bed bugs had invaded their home, leaving the family with itchy, burning bites. She had already reported the bed bugs to her landlord and to the public health department, but the landlord refused to address the problem and there was no immediate response from the health department. Naturally, Dalia worried how the bed bugs might harm her newborn baby.
Upon learning of the issue and the steps Dalia had taken, MCHA’s Welcome Baby director wrote a letter on behalf of the family, describing the risks of bed bug bites for newborns. The letter did the trick: the carpet was removed and replaced with tile, the bathroom water leaks were fixed, cracks in the wall and flooring were patched, and the bed bug infestation was treated by professionals.
In 2016, MCHA helped 1,102 women and their families welcome babies into safer, more supportive homes. The health benefits of Welcome Baby are documented here, but even these impressive results don’t tell the whole story. As this case demonstrates, the program’s home visitors, nurses, and other professionals take a broad approach to family support, often doing more than what might be expected of a maternal and infant health program.
Dalia says she is grateful for that.
Pregnant? Enroll in Welcome Baby!
If you are pregnant and plan to deliver at California Hospital in downtown L.A., call MCHA at 213-342-3127 to enroll in the free Welcome Baby program. Delivering elsewhere? Welcome Baby is offered at these 14 hospitals in L.A. County.
- General information on bed bugs from the CDC, EPA, Calif. DPH, and L.A. County DPH
- General information in Spanish: Control de chinches y otras plagas (EPA)
- Guides used by Early Head Start: Bed Bugs: Managing the Itch Factor and Chinches: Controlar el Factor de Comezón (National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness)
- Bed Bug Guide from the Tuck Sleep Foundation includes sections on Bed Bug Prevention and How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs, plus links to more online resources.
- Fact Sheets on Bed Bugs and Cockroaches: These handouts (in English and Spanish) are produced by the Safer Pest Control Project, which seeks to reduce the health risks and environmental impacts of pesticides.
- Pesticides used to treat bed bugs can make you sick (Calif. Dept. of Public Health)
- Home Remedies to Get Rid of Bed Bugs (Tipsbulletin.com)
- Tenant rights regarding bed bugs and other pests:
- L.A. County Dept. of Public Health’s Environmental Health Emergency Hotline: 888-700-9995
- Recommendations for Owners/Operators or Management of Hotels and Other Multiple-Unit Dwellings (L.A. County Dept. of Public Health)
- Landlord Responsibility for Bed Bugs (Nolo.com)
- Tenant Options if Your Landlord Won’t Make Major Repairs (Nolo.com)
- What Landlords Need to Know About Bed Bugs (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
- Is landlord responsible for bedbug infestation? (LA Times, 8/31/14)