They’re your pride and joy, full of life, happiness and what may seem like an endless amount of energy. But believe it or not, 41 children in the Tampa Bay area didn’t make past the age of 6. They all died from preventable causes.
“It’s real and it can happen to anybody,” said Ellie Hirsch.
Ellie Hirsch, known as “The Mommy Master,” is one of a half dozen bloggers raising awareness to prevent needless child deaths. It’s all part of a three-year campaign hosted by Eckerd Kids, The Florida Department of Children and Families and the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County.
“We are the people that say it will never happen to me and it does,” said Kelley Parris, executive director of the Children’s Board.
Of the 41 children who died last year in our area from preventable deaths, more than half were in Hillsborough County. They all died from one of three main causes: Drowning, abusive head trauma (also known as shaken baby syndrome) and unsafe sleep practices (co-sleeping).
“These are horrible things and they’re happening in the Tampa Bay area. I think as parents and as a blogger we have to educate people,” said Hirsch.
One of the focuses of this campaign is to teach parents just how quickly things can happen. A child can drown any time in any place in as little at 20 seconds.
“I’ve learned that it’s quick, and it’s silent and that’s it. It changes your life forever,” Hirsch said.
In the past four years drowning deaths total the equivalent of a kindergarten class in the bay area alone.
The purpose of the campaign is to get the message out to people who don’t know the statistics and save lives.
“There’s not one way to reach everybody, so we are looking at every way possible that we can reach those new parents and get the information out,” Parris said.
“These are really scary, so if I can help prevent one death or educate one parent just like I’ve been educated then I’ve done my job,” said Hirsch.
If you’d like to share the bloggers’ stories of how to prevent needless deaths click on the links below.
Links to blogs:
Tampa Bay Parenting: