Every day, babies are born too soon, too small and often very sick. We invite you to make a difference for Northeast Florida’s babies by joining the Healthy Start Coalition to “March for Babies.”
The First Coast March of Dimes’ 5k walk is May 7th at 9 am at the Northbank Riverwalk, 300 W. Water St.
If you can’t walk with us, please help by donating to our team. The March of Dimes supports the Coalition by funding programs like the Camellia Project, which aims to improve health knowledge and behaviors and provide support for women who have had a baby in the NICU, to reduce the risk of recurrent poor birth outcomes.
The AAP, a leading resource for child health information, released a new recommendation to keep children in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years old or have reached the maximum height and weight requirements. The majority of rear-facing car seats can accommodate children up to 35 lbs.
According to the AAP, children under age 2 are 75 percent safer rear facing than forward facing and in the second year of life are five times less likely to die or be seriously injured in a crash if rear facing than forward facing.
While parents may have concerns about the comfort of their children’s limbs, the AAP reports that only about 1 in 1,000 children who are rear-facing will suffer a lower extremity injury, while the rate is much higher for forward facing children.
For children of all ages, the back seat is always the safest place to ride. Those 4’9” and under and between 8 and 12 years old should ride in a booster seat.
The new recommendation was developed using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Swedish studies that demonstrate dramatically reduced injury and death rates of children who remain rear facing until age 4.
Florida law requires children to be in rear-facing seats until age 1 or 20 lbs. There is no booster law in the state. Car accidents are a leading cause of death for children.
For a low-cost car seat or to have your seat checked for proper installation, contact the following:
• Florida Highway Patrol, 904-695-4115 x232
• Safe Kids Northeast Florida, 904-202-4302
More of Jacksonville’s babies are making it to their first birthday.
The city has seen a significant infant mortality decrease over the past 10 years. In 2009, 40 more babies in Duval County lived to celebrate their first birthdays — a success that the Healthy Start Coalition is proud of and sees a reason for continued community commitment.
“This highlights one of the key factors in the Coalition’s success: our efforts to engage and build awareness in the community around this critical public health issue,” said Rev. Tom Rodgers, a Coalition board member, at a statewide press conference in Tallahassee.
He highlighted several contributing community collaborations, including the JCCI, Inc. infant mortality study, which recently wrapped up its implementation phase; the Black Infant Health Practice Initiative, which Jacksonville was one of eight statewide communities that participated; and the federal Healthy Start program that focuses on preconception health: the Magnolia Project. Additionally, we garnered significant resources to develop and implement a comprehensive education awareness campaign — Make a Noise! Make a Difference! — that successfully reached all segments of our community.
The gains Healthy Start has made aren’t just in Jacksonville. Rev. Rodgers was one of several speakers at the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions’ “Have a Heart, Save a Baby” press conference on Valentine’s Day at the state Capitol Building in Tallahassee. The press conference was held to announce the lowest state infant mortality rate in 20 years and the improved birth outcomes for all races and ethnic groups, and fewer babies were born premature. In addition, significantly fewer died from sleep-related deaths.
Infant mortality is a community problem, and it takes a community to solve it. Many factors contributed to Jacksonville’s success in improving infant health, and the role of community partners in our efforts cannot be ignored. We appreciate and value the many community partners who joined us in our fight against infant mortality.
We are excited and proud of our success in Jacksonville, but we know that the hard work is just beginning. The Coalition will continue to work to ensure EVERY baby born in Florida gets the best possible start in life.
Through a partnership with the Duval County Health Department, the Azalea Project now houses a nurse practitioner (ARNP) to treat various sexually transmitted infections (STIs) twice a week at their 8th street location.
The ARNP will perform counseling, STI testing and STI treatment to those in the surrounding community, as well as those referred by the health department. Clinic hours are Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
STIs and other pre-pregnancy infections are associated with pre-term birth and other poor outcomes. The Coalition’s Fetal & Infant Mortality Review Project identified STIs as a contributing factor to 16 percent of fetal and infant deaths from 2005 to 2010.
The initiative will also be a source to identify substance abusing and pregnant females for follow-up services. The Azalea Project provides outreach, education and support services to high-risk women of childbearing age who are in substance-involved families.
The Coalition received funding from the CJ Foundation for SIDs to reprint safe sleep brochures in both English and Spanish. The brochures are available for distribution to providers’ offices and community organizations and can be downloaded here. For hard copies of the brochure, please call 904.723.5422 x112.
Each year, more than 20 babies in Northeast Florida die from sleep-related deaths. Help protect babies by following key safe sleep practices: Alone, on the Back, in the Crib.