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Help keep kids safe from drowning, unsafe sleep, and abusive head trauma


Learn tips to prevent the top three causes of preventable child deaths in Tampa Bay and share them with parents and caregivers By Kelley Parris Executive Director, The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County In the Tampa Bay area, nearly 200 children under the age of six have died in the last five years (2012–2016) from the top three causes of preventable child death: drowning, unsafe sleep practices, and abusive head trauma. These tragedies can happen to anyone, and every member of our community — not just parents — bears the responsibility of educating themselves on these dangers. Take a few moments to learn the measures you can take today to prevent needless child deaths in our community.

DROWNING PREVENTION AND WATER SAFETY Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 in the Tampa Bay region. In fact, over the last five years, more than 40 children under the age of 6 have died from drowning in our area. Six of those deaths occurred in 2016.

as texting. Infants and toddlers should always be accompanied in the water and adults should stay within arm’s reach of the child.

;;Never rely on floatation devices.

Flotation devices, such as water wings, inner tubes or even life vests should be used only in conjunction with close adult supervision.

;;Be aware of hidden hazards.

A child can drown in as little as 1 inch of water. Everything from your toilet to your pet’s water bowl can pose a drowning risk. Empty bathtubs when they are no longer in use and keep bathroom doors closed.

;;Get professional help.

Take advantage of programs that offer swim lessons. For example, The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County’s Mobile Water Safety Team provides swim lessons and water safety education at no cost in community and apartment complex pools.

Drowning can happen to any child, anywhere, at any time. It’s not limited to pools and beaches — there are potential hazards in and around the home that can put children at risk.

More infants die in adult beds than anywhere else. In fact, infants are 40 times more likely to die in an adult bed than in their own cribs. Co-sleeping, which means having babies sleep in the same bed as parents, siblings or caregivers, can cause a baby to suffocate if an adult unintentionally rolls on top of them. Pillow-top mattresses, comforters, fluffy pillows, and stuffed animals also pose a danger to infants in adult beds as well as in cribs. They’re dangerous because infants under six months lack the muscle control to move their neck if something like a pillow or stuffed animal is blocking their airway.

Safe sleep tips:

;;Bring the crib into the parent or caregiver’s room.

Sharing a room with a child has almost all of the same benefits of sharing a bed, but without the risks. It’s recommended to bring the baby’s crib, or a smaller bassinet, into the parents’ room for the first year of the baby’s life.

;;Practice the ABCs of safe sleep.

The safest way for infants to sleep is Alone on their Backs in a Crib. This minimizes the risk of the infant suffocating, especially if they have not yet developed neck muscle control.

Drowning prevention tips:

;;Designate a “water watcher.”

Lack of adult supervision in and around the water is the main reason children die from drowning. An adult should be assigned to keep their eyes on the child at all times when they are in or near water, and must avoid distractions such

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;;Follow crib setup recommendations.

A crib mattress should be firm and fit snugly inside the crib’s frame, and sheets should fit tightly around the mattress. The sleeping area should free of blankets, pillows, bumper pads, stuffed animals, sleep positioners and toys.

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

Gulf Coast Family - June 2017  
Gulf Coast Family - June 2017  

Gulf Coast Family's primary purpose is to encourage families along the Gulf Coast by providing worthwhile information that deals with family...