Florida Campaign Seeks to Reduce Accidental Infant Deaths

Mitchell Panter, Esq. | Islander News

Mar 15, 2023

Accidental suffocation is the leading cause of death for children under one year of age according to the Florida Department of Health. In 2018, the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, Florida, utilizing data from the medical examiner’s office, found that over one hundred infants had died due to sleep-related suffocation during a period of ten years. The infants were otherwise healthy at the time of death, which led the Juvenile Welfare Board to conclude that these deaths were preventable.

Their realization led to the formation of the “Sleep Baby Safely” campaign, which seeks to educate parents, caregivers, and other citizens about how to prevent accidental infant deaths due to suffocation. According to April Putzulu, a senior Board manager, infant deaths have reduced by half in Pinellas County since the launch of the campaign.

Florida is now expanding the campaign to include eight more Florida counties, including Miami-Dade, with funds being allocated from the Florida Department of Health’s budget to prevent death in children.

How To Keep Infants Safe While Sleeping

The Sleep Baby Safely campaign recommends caregivers follow the “Safe Sleep ABCs”. The acronym helps caregivers to remember the following words: Alone, Back, and Crib.

– Alone: infants should sleep alone.

– Back: infants should always be laid down on their backs with their heads and bellies facing up.

– Crib: infants should sleep in an empty crib, bassinet, or Pack n’ Play

The campaign also recommends adults share a room with a small child, but not a bed. Additionally, an infant’s mattress should be firm to further prevent suffocation. Often adult beds, air mattresses, and sofas are too soft and increase the risk of child suffocation. A caregiver should also set alarms during feeding time to ensure they do not fall asleep with an infant in a chair, sofa, or other location. An infant should always be returned to their crib or bassinet.

Read the article as originally published at https://www.islandernews.com/news/florida/florida-campaign-seeks-to-reduce-accidental-infant-deaths/article_d5ee2a1a-c272-11ed-b643-cbb8146d1482.html