Tampa Bay campaign aims to prevent child deaths

Tampa Bay campaign aims to prevent child deaths (Image 1)

A new campaign aims to prevent child deaths in the Tampa Bay area from drowning, unsafe sleep habits and abusive head trauma from incidents such as shaken baby.

The campaign includes the image of a young man and the words: “I might shake your baby to death when I’m stressed.” Another image shows a baby and the words “More infants die in adult beds than anywhere else.”

“You just have to think about the classrooms of children we have lost,” said Kelley Parris, executive director of the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, one of the organizations launching the campaign along with the Department of Children and Families.

Over the past four years (2011-2014), 108 children in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties have died from sleep-related incidents, according to medical examiner data provided by the Pinellas Juvenile Welfare Board.

The campaign aims to alert parents to the potential dangers of “co-sleeping” in the same bed with their baby, including adults rolling over and suffocating the children.

Babies should be placed in their own crib on a firm mattress, sleeping in the center on their back without any extra pillows or blankets, said Dr. Rachel Dawkins, the medical director of the general pediatric clinic at All Children’s Hospital.

“Bad things don’t happen all the time but in the rare instance it happens you don’t want your child to be the person it happens to – or your baby,” Dawkins said.

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