The City of Lighthouse Point is a #SaferBy4 Community
Over the last five years, there have been more than 200 child deaths in Broward County as reported to the Florida Department of Children and Families. In 2014 alone, Broward County experienced 40 child deaths – the highest number of child fatalities in the last five years. The majority of these children were age 3 and under. Almost half of these tragedies were the result of drowning. And for infants under the age of one year, the most prevalent cause was accidental suffocation or strangulation from an unsafe sleep environment. Such deaths can be prevented with information and education. The Florida Department of Children and Families along with many other government and social service organizations developed the #SaferBy4 campaign to help educate families about how they can get their children safely to their 4th birthday, when the risk is reduced.
On Tuesday, April 28, 2015, the Lighthouse Point City Commission took the pledge to become a #SaferBy4 community in Broward County. The City encourages health care institutions, other municipalities, and all first responders, to support the #SaferBy4 initiative and to collaborate on strategies aimed at reducing, if not eliminating, preventable child deaths due to drowning and unsafe sleep habits.
The safety tips below have been provided by the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Water Safety for Babies and Toddlers
• SUPERVISION: Someone should always be actively watching children when they are in the pool. This means don’t play around on your phone or get involved in a big conversation while watching the kids. Drowning can happen in just a few minutes. Designate a “Water Watcher” to keep an eye on swimmers.
• BARRIERS: A child should never be able to enter the pool area unaccompanied by an adult. Barriers physically block a child from the pool. Barriers include: child-proof locks on all doors, a pool fence with self-latching and self-closing gates, as well as door and pool alarms. Pool covers may also be used but make sure it is a professional cover fitted for your pool. A simple canvas covering can be a drowning hazard and entrap a child in the water. Florida law requires barriers for home pools.
• SWIMMING LESSONS: Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest rates of fatal drowning and nonfatal drowning hospitalization. Take the time to have your child participate in certified water safety training. • EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: The moment a child stops breathing there is a small, precious window of time in which resuscitation may occur, but only if someone knows what to do. Even if you’re not a parent, it’s important to learn CPR. The techniques are easy to learn and can mean the difference between life and death. In an emergency, it is critical to have a phone nearby and immediately call 911.
Sleep Safety for Infants
• Make sure the baby’s crib meets Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.
• The mattress should be firm and fit snuggly in the crib’s frame.
• Crib sheets should fit tightly around the mattress.
• Place baby on his or her back to sleep in order to reduce the risk of suffocation.
• Keep baby’s sleep area clear of strings, cords and wires.
• Give your baby a pacifier (never a bottle) when he or she goes to sleep. However, if the baby does not want the pacifier, do not force it into his or her mouth or do not reinsert if found the baby has discarded it in his sleep.
• Keep the room temperature comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
• Have the baby share your room, not your bed. For the first six months, keep baby’s bed in the same room as his or her caregiver in order to be attentive to baby’s cries.
• Avoid exposing your baby to smoke both during pregnancy and after birth, as exposure to smoke is a major risk factor for Sudden Infant Death (SIDS) and Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome (SUID).
• Use infant sleep clothing designed to keep your baby warm without the possible hazard of head covering or entrapment. Infants are typically comfortable with one layer more than an adult would wear to be comfortable in the same environment.