September 25, 2013
By Julie Montanaro
95 children have died already in Florida this year because of where they sleep.
The state is encouraging parents to put babies to sleep - alone in their crib - to try to avoid tragedy.
If your baby sleeps in your bed or in a comfy crib full of stuffed animals, consider this.
95 children have died already in Florida this year because of unsafe sleeping conditions and DCF says babies' risk of dying goes up 40% when they're in bed with an adult.
"One child is too many, but 95 shows us we must get this word out to the public," interim DCF Secretary Esther Jacobo said.
The state of Florida is launching a new campaign to encourage parents to put babies to sleep on their backs ... in their cribs ... alone.
New public service announcements say, "Blankets look comfy but they can get tangled up in him. Even pillows which seem harmless aren't safe for a baby."
They are encouraging parents to remove all bumpers, blankets and stuffed animals.
LT Jennifer King - with the Tallahassee Fire Department - has had to respond to those frantic calls from parents.
"I've been on a rollover infant death where the child was in bed with the mother and she actually smothered the child and of course that's just devastating," King said. "It's devastating for everybody to see something like that."
King says she often sees struggling families unkowingly putting their kids at risk.
"They've got them in beds, they've got them in pallets on the floors, with blankets on couches," King said
The safe sleep campaign hopes to spare lives and heartache. It reminds parents that choosing to tuck your baby in next to mom and dad or his favorite teddy bear may be cozy, but it can also be deadly.
First responders will be handing out pamphlets about safe sleep and folks are encouraged to drop off new and gently used pack and plays at their local fire station to help parents who perhaps cannot afford a safe bassinet or crib.
Florida Department of Children and Families Press Release
Florida Officials, First Responders and Community Organizations Launch Safe Sleep Campaign
Babies Should Sleep Alone, on their Backs and in a Crib
Tallahassee, Fla.— So far this calendar year, 95 infant deaths related to unsafe sleep have been reported to the Florida Abuse Hotline. In an increased effort to prevent these tragedies, today Florida government agencies, state officials including Representative David Santiago (R-Deltona), community organizations, medical professionals and first responders came together to launch The Safe Sleep Campaign.
“The very sad reality is that unsafe sleep deaths happen in every community across the state. We are glad that so many partners have come together to support the prevention of these senseless tragedies. The dedication to this cause is inspiring, and together we can make a difference in the lives of so many children and families,” Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo said.
“Moms and dads want to protect their babies as they sleep,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “Babies are safest when monitored in their cribs without stuffed animals or blankets.”
The Safe Sleep Campaign expands on successful programs implemented by Ft. Lauderdale Fire-Rescue and Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies of Broward County and Manatee County Sheriff's Office. The campaign will provide free online continuing education training to first responders about how to identify unsafe sleep situations and take preventative measures. First responders will also receive free printed materials to distribute to families. The program was tested at the local level by the Tallahassee Fire Department and has received support and participation from first responder and community organizations statewide.
“I am very proud to be part of this effort to highlight the significance of Safe-Sleep Practices in further reducing infant mortality in the State of Florida. This was the exact intent of adding the Safe-Sleep language to my bill this past session. I am glad to see many of the agencies that deal with this problem coming together with a common purpose,” Representative Santiago said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep ALONE, on their BACKS and in a CRIB. Cribs should be clear of items like blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, strings/cords, sleep positioners and bumper pads. Babies should sleep in their own cribs, as the risk of infant death is 40 times higher for babies who sleep in adult beds.
The campaign encourages the public to donate new Pack ‘n Plays (portable cribs) to designated fire, emergency and law enforcement stations. The cribs will be distributed by Healthy Start. The campaign launch coincides with September as Infant Mortality Awareness Month and October as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) Awareness Month.
For more information, free resources, designated pack n play drop-off locations, video PSAs, an interview with a mother impacted by unsafe sleep and a full list of partners, visit www.MyFLFamilies.com/SafeSleep.
Press Release: Florida Department of Children and Families
Tallahassee, Fla.— So far this calendar year, 95 infant deaths related to unsafe sleep have been reported to the Florida Abuse Hotline. In an increased effort to prevent these tragedies, on Sept. 25, Florida government agencies, state officials, community organizations, medical professionals and first responders will come together to launch The Safe Sleep Campaign.
Who: DCF Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo, State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John H. Armstrong, Rep. David Santiago, Tallahassee first responders, Florida associations, medical professionals and child welfare organizations.
What: Press conference to launch The Safe Sleep Campaign
Where: Capitol Rotunda, Plaza Level, 300 S Monroe St, Tallahassee, FL
When: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 11 a.m.