Safety Tips

Child Care
Who's Watching Your Child?

What is SIDS?sleeping

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected death of a baby younger than 1 year of age that doesn’t have a known cause even after a complete investigation.
  • It is the leading cause of death among infants between 1 month and 1 year of age.
  • African American and American Indian / Alaska Native babies are at a higher risk of SIDS than infants of other races and ethnicities.
  • SIDS is just one type of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death or “SUID,” which includes those from no clear reason, such as SIDS, and those from a known reason, such as suffocation, neglect, homicide, or other sleep-related causes.

What is The Safe Sleep Campaign?

  • The Safe Sleep Campaign is provided by Florida government agencies, state officials, non-profit organizations and first responders. The campaign includes public outreach as well as FREE online training and materials for Florida’s first responders in an effort to prevent unsafe sleep during routine calls and interactions with the public.
  • The campaign also encourages donations of new pack n’ plays (portable cribs) to designated locations, which are then distributed to families in need by local coalitions.
  • The campaign brings existing safe sleep initiatives together and provides resources to launch new projects. For more information, visit The Safe Sleep Campaign website; or call (850) 717-4491.

What is the Safe to Sleep(R) Public Education Campaign?

  • The Safe to Sleep campaign is an initiative of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. It is an expansion of the previous Back to Sleep campaign to reduce the risk of SIDS. Since the launch of the Back to Sleep campaign in 1994, the SIDS rate has dropped by more than 50 percent across all populations. However, the rate has plateaued in recent years.
  • The new Safe to Sleep campaign aims to expand upon the success of the previous Back to Sleep campaign by reducing the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
  • SIDS is just one type of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death or “SUID,” which includes those from no clear reason, such as SIDS, and those from a known reason, such as suffocation, neglect, homicide, or other sleep-related causes.

What makes a safe sleeping environment for your baby?

  • Place your baby on his or her back to sleep for naps and at night.
  • Use sleep clothing, such as a one-piece sleeper, instead of a blanket.
  • Do not let anyone smoke near your baby.
  • Use a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Make sure nothing covers the baby’s head.
  • Do not use pillows, blankets, sleepskins, or pillow-like bumpers in your baby’s sleep area.
  • Keep soft objects, stuffed toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
  • The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
  • Wedges and positioners should not be used.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.

Baby Proofing and Kids Home Safety Guide

Expertise, a company helping people make truly better decisions with guides written by industry experts, has created a comprehensive guide about baby proofing and kids safety at home. Here’s a link to the kids safety guide, which includes chapters on common household hazards for children of all ages, tv and internet safety for kids, firearm and gun safety for kids, and home childproofing tips.

Water Safety

Car Seat Safety Guides

The following websites are the preferred resources regarding car seat safety:

Safe Swaddling

We have recently learned about some disagreement in research regarding swaddling as a safe practice. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not have an official stance on the practice of swaddling because data about the benefits and the risks conflict. There is anecdotal and cultural evidence that swaddling calms babies by creating a secure, womb-like environment. Conversely, there is data that indicates that improper swaddling can lead to suffocation, overheating and hip dysplasia.

Because of this conflicting data, Healthy Families Florida does not promote swaddling to help babies get to sleep or stay asleep. The following recommendations have been made for home safety education:

  • Use swaddling only for calming. If baby falls asleep while swaddled, remove the blankets before placing baby on his or her back, alone in an empty crib.
  • Stop swaddling babies when they reach 2 months of age. Once babies become more active and mobile, swaddling blankets become a safety hazard.
  • Keep blankets loose around the hips. Tightly swaddling the legs and hips can lead to injury to baby’s developing joints.
  • Swaddle correctly. Follow these steps recommended by the AAP:
    1. To swaddle, spread a light blanket out flat, with one corner folded down.
    2. Lay the baby face-up on the blanket, with her head above the folded corner.
    3. Straighten her left arm, and wrap the left corner of the blanket over her body and tuck it between her right arm and the right side of her body.
    4. Then tuck the right arm down, and fold the right corner of the blanket over her body and under her left side.
    5. Fold or twist the bottom of the blanket loosely and tuck it under one side of the baby.
    6. Make sure her hips can move and that the blanket is not too tight. Be sure you are able to get at least two or three fingers between the baby’s chest and the swaddle.
    7. Stop swaddling babies when they reach 2 months of age.

Below are a few links to articles and online resources regarding safe swaddling:

The AAP continues to research and consider the issue, so we will keep you up to date as new evidence is released about the practice.

A Warning About HYPOTHERMIA
(Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

The human body loses heat during the winter due to the conduction and convection of heat from the skin to nearby air, due to evaporation of moisture from the skin surface, and due to normal respiration. To compensate for this heat loss, the body burns energy to produce heat to keep the body temperature at a relatively constant level. If, however, a body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, the body temperature will cool to below normal levels, a medical condition known as hypothermia.

Hypothermia will gradually worsen unless the overall rate of heat loss can be stopped. The warning signs for hypothermia may start with shivering and shaking and may end in death. Initially, as the body temperature starts to drop, shivering begins. At the same time, the brain begins to reduce the amount of blood that is circulated to the extremities of the body in order to conserve heat for the vital organs near the body’s central core. If the central core of the body continues to cool, uncontrollable shaking, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion may develop. These are all signs of a very serious situation. If the body core temperature drops below 95° fahrenheit, just 4° below normal, immediate care is needed, as the person will likely become irrational. Once the body core temperature drops below 90°, the person loses muscle control, and outside help is the person’s only hope for survival. If that help is not available, heart and/or respiratory failure and death will eventually follow as the core temperature continues to drop.

If a person is suffering from hypothermia, it’s critically important that the person be warmed properly. If warmed improperly, death may result. In a hypothermic person, cold blood is concentrated in the extremities. If these extremities are warmed too quickly, this cold blood will be released into the body’s central core, possibly lowering the central core temperature to a fatal level. Use the following steps to raise the core temperature of a hypothermic person:

  • Get the person into dry clothing if their clothes are wet.
  • Put on additional clothing to warm the person’s head and trunk, such as a hat and vest.
  • Wrap the person in a warm blanket and be sure their head and neck are covered. Do not cover their extremities.
  • Give them warm liquids to drink, but no alcohol, drugs or coffee.
  • Seek medical attention, if necessary.
  • Hypothermia can also develop in elderly people in a cool room with few, if any, warning signs.

A Warning about HYPERTHERMIA
(Excerpt from: http://www.nhtsa.gov/safety/hyperthermia)

Children die each year from heatstroke after being left alone in a vehicle. You live by your daily routine and it helps you get things done. Be extra careful, though, if you have to change any part of that routine. This is more likely to happen when you, your spouse/partner, or caregiver who helps with your children, forgets that a child is in the back seat. This can and does happen when you break a well-established routine.

Disasters happen quickly…

At other times, you are on your way home and realize you need to stop in at the store and pick up one or two things for dinner. So, you leave your child unattended, thinking, “I’ll just run into the store for a minute,” which is illegal in many States. Even cool temperatures in the 60s can cause the temperature to rise well above 110° fahrenheit inside your car. The inside temperature can rise almost 20° within the first 10 minutes.

Some children die in hot cars after climbing into an unlocked vehicle without an adult’s knowledge. Once in the vehicle, they may become confused by the door opening mechanism or trapped in the trunk, and unable to get out before heatstroke occurs.

Prevention Tips

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
  • Do not let your children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach them that a vehicle is not a play area.
  • Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open.
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away.
  • If you are dropping your child off at childcare, and normally it’s your spouse or partner who drops them off, have your spouse or partner call you to make sure the drop went according to plan.
  • Ask your childcare provider to call you if your child does not show up for childcare.
  • Always lock vehicle doors and trunks and keep keys out of children’s reach. If a child is missing, check the vehicle first, including the trunk.
  • If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call the police. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
  • Do things to remind yourself that a child is in the vehicle, such as:
    • Writing yourself a note and putting the note where you will see it when you leave the vehicle;
    • Placing your purse, briefcase or something else you need in the back seat so that you will have to check the back seat when you leave the vehicle; or
    • Keeping an object in the car seat, such as a stuffed toy. When the child is buckled in, place the object where the driver will notice it when he or she is leaving the vehicle.

What you need to know, NOW.

  • Vehicles heat up quickly – even with a window rolled down two inches, if the outside temperature is in the low 80s° Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes.
  • Children’s bodies overheat easily, and infants and children under four years of age are among those at greatest risk for heat-related illness.
  • Children’s bodies absorb more heat on a hot day than an adult. Also, children are less able to lower their body heat by sweating. When a body cannot sweat enough, the body temperature rises rapidly.
  • In fact, when left in a hot vehicle, a young child’s body temperature may increase three to five times as fast an adult. High body temperatures can cause permanent injury or even death.

Dangers of Extreme Heat
Symptoms of heatstroke vary, but may include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin, no sweating, a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse, a throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, being grouchy, or acting strangely.
If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call the police. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible. Cool the child rapidly. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Additional Resources
http://www.safekids.org/heatstroke
http://www.childrenssafetynetwork.org/publications/heatstrokeinfographic
http://ggweather.com/heat/index.htm#study

In Case of Evacuation
Before leaving, turn off electricity, gas and water, unplug appliances, board up windows, and leave a note telling where you have gone and how you can be reached if that information is known. Take with you 72 hour kits (food, water, medicines, flashlights, bedding, clothing, money, coins, first aid kit, etc.), tools, family records, and a full tank of gas.

ABCs of a Disaster Preparedness Kit
Having the following items on hand will help you get through 72 hours without help for local or state agencies. Kits can be packed in buckets, bins, plastic two liter bottles (see basic bottle kit, or in a rolling suitcase. For additional information, see Kit Considerations.

Antiseptic
Anti-Bacterial Soap
Backpack
Bedding
Cans Food or Containers of Food – See the Basic Bottle Inventory or Mini Bucket Inventory
Change of Clothes for Each Family Member – Shirts, Pants, Shoes, Socks, Underclothes
Containers for Storage (make sure to keep medicines, chemicals, fuel, etc. safely stored in childproof and pet-proof containers)
Dog / Cat / Bird Supplies – Food, water, medicines, toys – Current ID, photo, proof of vaccinations, and a leash or carrier may be required in shelters or hotels if you must evacuate
Emergency Weather Radio
Extra Batteries
Eye Glasses
Flashlights
First Aid Kit – Anti-septic, anti-itch, anti-biotic ointment, pain relievers, bandages, rolled gauze, 4 × 4 sterile dressings, elastic wrap, scissors, gloves and any other supplies you regularly use
Fuel
Garbage Bags
Gas tank in your car should be above the half full mark
Insect Spray
Hand Sanitizer
Hygiene Products
Jacket or Sweater for each family member
Kids’ Toys, Diapers, etc.
Liquid Bleach, unscented
Maps
Money
Medicines
Numbers to Call
Options – Does everyone know where to meet? Do you have alternate routes? Where else can you do? How will you get there?
Photos of Family and Valuables
Proof of Immunizations
Proof of Insurance
Quarters
Rain Gear
Sunscreen
Toilet Paper and a Bucket – There are even toilet seats that fit onto 5 gallon buckets.
Utensils
Vitamins
Water – You cannot have “too much” water! Ideally, you need to have 2 gallons per person per day, with enough to last your family at LEAST three (3) days, but preferably two (2) weeks!
Wipes
Your Needs – Plan to pack whatever else you need that is not on this list.

Considerations for Disaster Supply Kits

  • Put everything in plastic. Florida is wet!
  • Keep 3 days of food and at least 7 days of prescriptions in your kit at all times. When you refill your medicines, use the “old” and replace it with the “new” as often as you get refills, so your medicine will stay fresh!
  • When you re-set your clocks every 6 months, change smoke alarm batteries, try clothes for fit, add fresh batteries to your kit, and replace the food items. (Have a picnic or two with the old stuff!)
  • Include items you like. When you need to use these supplies, circumstances will be stressful. Be good to yourself ahead of time!
  • Keep everything in ONE place, known to all family members. If age and health permit, let everyone carry their own gear.
  • Include children in preparations. This will give them a sense of control and teach them to prepare for, not fear, the “adventures” ahead! (They need their own flashlights, too!)

How to Create a Mini Bucket Kit
Below is an example of supplies that can go into a bucket or bin. Substitute items to fit your health and taste needs. Remember to replace food items and batteries every 6 months! When you change your clocks and smoke alarm batteries, change your kit!

3 cans ready-to-eat soup (with pull tops)
3 cans Vienna sausages (with pull tops)
6 granola bars
6 mini-packs of raisins
3 cans mixed fruit (with pull tops)
3 packages fruit chew candy
3 packets bread sticks with cheese dip
1-20 ounce water bottle (Note: this is not enough for 3 days!)
Water purification tablets (to treat up to 25 quarts)
8 individual antibacterial wipes
2 spoons
2 razors
1 mini-can shaving cream
1 toothbrush
1 travel size toothpaste
1 travel size shampoo
1 heavy duty trash liner (for bucket used as toilet) Lined bucket can be used for waste disposal, too!
1 roll toilet paper (smashed flat in plastic zipper bag)
9 “regular” adhesive bandages
4 “jumbo” adhesive bandages
8 2 x 2 gauze sponges
1 mini-radio with batteries ( Note: DO NOT store batteries in radio)
1 mini flashlight with batteries ( Note: DO NOT store batteries in flashlight)
1 waterproof emergency “space” blanket (56 x 84)
2 trash bags with ties

Basic Bottle Kit Inventory and How to Create the Bottles
Below is an example of supplies that can go into a bottle kit. Substitute items to fit your health and taste needs. Remember to replace food items and batteries every 6 months! When you change your clocks and smoke alarm batteries, change your kit!

Creating a Bottle Kit

  • Cut rounded tops off two 2-liter soda bottles
  • Clean & dry thoroughly!
  • Pack one bottle with the cans in the bottom, “bars” & “sticks” down the sides
  • Place the noodle package in the bottom of other bottle and fit drink mixes & remaining items with it
  • Cut a 1 ½ slit down the edge of the bottle that holds the cans
  • Slide other bottle over it and push down to overlap as far as possible
  • Seal all the way around with DUCT tape
  • Attach another clean 2-liter bottle of water (or 2 bottles of water)
  • Write the date on everything!

Bottle Kit Content Examples

Breakfast:

3 cocoa / fruit drink mixes
3 meal bars

Lunch:

3 jerky sticks
3 cheese / peanut butter cracker packages

Snacks:

3 granola bars
3 cheese-dip bread sticks
3 fruit chew packages
3 packs chewing gum

Dinners:

3 apple cider mixes
1 can of soup
1 dry noodle soup pack
1 chicken salad meal kit (separate parts to fit)