New campaign aims to prevent accidental child deaths

Published May 19 2015
Updated May 19 2015

TAMPA — In the past five years, 150 children in the Tampa Bay area died from accidental drowning, head trauma or suffocation — all of them preventable, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families.

To raise awareness about preventable child deaths, DCF and several other organizations Tuesday launched a three-year campaign, "Warning Signs," which includes billboard advertisements that put "warning labels" on common causes of children's deaths.

One ad pictures a sleeping child in a onesie that says, "More infants die in adult beds than anywhere else." Another features a man wearing a T-shirt that reads, "I might shake your baby to death when I'm stressed."

A website, preventneedlessdeaths.com, gives more information about drowning, suffocation and head trauma and tips on how to prevent them.

Kelley Parris, executive director of the Children's Board of Hillsborough County, which played a key role in organizing the campaign, said the campaign is aimed at everyone — immediate and extended family, friends and bystanders — who could prevent an accident from happening

"The overall goal is to reduce those deaths and prevent serious injury caused by those same things," Parris said. "Especially with abusive head trauma and drowning, many of those children survive, but their quality of life is impacted by that incident."

The campaign's partners include the Children's Board, Eckerd Community Alternatives and the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County.

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