We are working to update this page regularly; there is much to share. If you find any information you believe needs to be included or needs to be corrected, please contact our office 305-293-8424. Thank you.
ALICE report for Florida
30% of Florida households are walking a financial tightrope. They are working hard but falling short of what they need to consistently cover the basic costs of living. Unable to save for the future, they are vulnerable to a single emergency that can push them into crisis and even poverty.
ALICE refers to the population in our communities that are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. The ALICE population represents those among us who are working, but due to childcare costs, transportation challenges, the high cost of living, and so much more are living paycheck to paycheck.
Local United Ways have long worked with the ALICE population in the areas of education, income, and health to build better lives. The Report clarifies and describes the complex challenges they face and provide invaluable insight regarding how to promote policies and programs that benefit everyone. As an organization that is partially funded by United Way, we are making this report available on our website.
For further information on the ALICE report, visit the United Way of the Florida Keys website.
Riding bicycles is a great way for children to spend some time outside having fun and getting exercise! We want to help you make sure your child is safe while riding in a seat on your bike or on their own. The Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition provides free bicycle helmets to all children in Monroe County (while supplies last). We also have trained helmet fitters to make sure your child's helmet fits properly. Please call (305) 293-8424 to set up an appointment. Also, remember, parents can set an example by wearing your own helmet and following all safety laws.
Below is information on Florida law, as well as some additional bike and helmet safety tips.
Florida Law Requires
Every bike rider under 16 must wear a properly fitted and secured helmet, including children in a bicycle trailer or a bike seat.
Parents and guardians must not knowingly allow a child to violate this law. Anyone who violates the helmet law may be issued a citation and fined.
Bicycle Safety Tips
Children should not ride on a bicycle until 1 year of age.
Small children should be securely fastened in a mounted seat on the adult’s bicycle or in a trailer.
All bicycle riders should wear a helmet, including adults.
Bicycle riders should obey all traffic laws. It is safest to ride on the right side, with the flow of traffic.
Helmet Fitting Tips
Helmets should fit snugly and be level on your head. The helmet rim should be one or two finger widths above the eyebrow.
The straps should form a "V" shape under the ears and be tight enough that no more than two fingers fit between the strap and
The buckle should be centered under the chin.
If you would like to have this information in poster form, please feel free to download our poster to print and hang wherever you would like.
Car seat Safety
Effective January 1, 2015, Florida drivers must follow an enhanced child restraint device (car seat) law, which will reduce tragic outcomes in vehicle accidents. The new law extends the requirement of a car seat or booster seat until a child’s 6th birthday. For more details, visit our Release on the new law.
As state and federal guidelines can change and as your children grow, keeping up with car seats can be overwhelming. Here are a few websites that may help you sort through the options and make decisions.
This year, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and Toyota celebrate Buckle Up for Life's 10th anniversary by launching a campaign to raise awareness on proper child passenger safety.
Los choques automovilísticos son la causa principal de muerte entre niños de uno a trece años de edad. Unase al compromiso de “Abróchate a la Vida” hoy y ayude a hacer que la seguridad del niño pasajero una prioridad.
HealthyChildren.org from AAP (Spanish Version)
They have a good overall article about car seat safety. Topics they address include, Types of Car Seats At a Glance, Installation Information: Seat Belts & LATCH, Infants & Toddlers: Rear-Facing, Shopping for Car Seats, and more. There are installation tips, common questions, and lots of great information.
NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration):
· Is Your Child in the Right Car Seat?
· How to Find the Right Car Seat?
· How to Install
· Get Your Car Seat Checked
· Registration and Recalls
· Car seat information in Spanish
The Safe Kids Worldwide website has a great interactive page titled "Car Seat, Booster Seat or Seat Belt: Where Does Your Kid Fit?" This page can help you determine what type of seat your child should be in, and when to switch them to the next size/type of car seat.
Do you need a babysitter? Care.com has babysitters, pet sitters, housekeepers, and many other services! On Care.com you do have to create a profile, but it's free to join. Khassidi Marsh, her mother, and her sister work together to watch the children of Key West. If you need a babysitter or have any questions please call our office at 305-293-8424.
Community Resource Guide
United Way of the Florida Keys has developed a 2019 Florida Keys Community Resource Guide.
Click on the link below for a comprehensive list of the many services available in Monroe County.
Community Resources for families of students is available on the Monroe County Schools website.
Food Sources in Monroe County
With the cost of living in Key West and the rest of the Keys, sometimes providing food for your family can be a challenge.
If you have trouble putting food on your family's table, there are a number of agencies that may be able to help. Click on the link below and feel free to print out the list of food sources.
Anyone can get food poisoning, but babies and toddlers are at especially high risk and once they become infected, young children can have a hard time getting well. Serious complications may develop, resulting in hospitalizations, lifelong health problems, and even death.
This guide from the Partnership for Food Safety Education has tips for parents, grandparents, and baby sitters on ways to reduce the risk of food poisoning in households with small children.
Preventing Food Poisoning (English)
Heatstroke Safety Tips
SafeKids Worldwide provided the following information on heatstroke.
Babies and young kids can sometimes sleep so peacefully that we forget they are even there. It can also be tempting to leave a baby alone in a car while we quickly run into the store. The problem is that leaving a child alone in a car can lead to serious injury or death from heatstroke. Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. These tragedies are completely preventable.
Here’s how we can all work together to keep kids safe from heatstroke.
Reduce the Number of Deaths from Heatstroke by Remembering to ACT
A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.
C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
T: Take action. If you see a baby alone in a car, enter the establishment with the model, color and license of the vehicle and have the owner paged. Call 911 if the baby appears to be in physical distress.
Go a Step Further: Take Steps to Remind Yourself
SafeKids.org suggests leaving an item of importance next to your child – including a briefcase, purse or cell phone, your left shoe – anything you need once you reach your destination.
Make a habit of looking into all the seats of the vehicle before you exit or walk away.
Set up a system with your child care provider. Have them call you if your child has not been dropped off at the normal time.
Put a stuffed animal in the car seat when your child is not in it – when you put your child in the seat, take the animal out and put it next to you as a reminder.
Use technology to help you.
Create a calendar reminder to drop your child off at daycare.
Purchase a car seat the “talks” to your car and reminds you that the baby is still in the seat.
There are several apps, such as Precious Cargo, that provide heat warnings in vehicles which are extremely easy to use and will keep you constantly alert.
Teach Kids Not to Play in Cars
Make sure to lock your vehicle, including doors and trunk, when you’re not using it. Keep keys and remote entry fobs out of children’s sight and reach.
Teach kids that trunks are for transporting cargo and are not safe places to play.
If your child is missing, get help and check swimming pools, vehicles and trunks. If your children are locked in a car, get them out as quickly as possible and dial 911 immediately. Emergency personnel are trained to evaluate and check for signs of heatstroke.
For more information on heatstroke, visit SafeKids.org or KidsAndCars.org/heatstroke.html.
Downloadable files below can be printed and posted.
The text4baby website has a great list of health hotlines for parents. These can be great resources but should not be used as a substitute for medical advice. Use them in partnership with your health care provider.
Hurricane Season Readiness
With 40% of U.S. hurricane landfalls happening in Florida, hurricane season can be very stressful for Keys residents, and especially so for expectant parents and families with young children. To stay safe and be prepared, families are encouraged to start getting ready now, before a storm approaches. Visit our Hurricane Season Readiness page.
Infant/Child CPR and Choking Prevention
We offer classes on Infant/Child CPR and Choking prevention on occasion. Participants will learn life-saving skills for their families including CPR, choking prevention, poison control, shaken baby prevention and first aid.
To keep the costs down, you will NOT receive the Red Cross certification card but the instructor IS a Certified Instructor.
No childcare is provided. You may bring your own food/drinks and should dress comfortably.
Check our News and Events page for upcoming classes and information about registration and costs.
Obstetricians and Pediatricians
Visit our Doctors page for a list of OBs and Pediatricians in the Florida Keys.
Children’s Safety Network National Resource Center for Injury and Violence Prevention is dedicated to working with state, territorial and community Maternal & Child Health and Injury & iolence prevention programs to create an environment where all children and youth are safe and healthy. The website covers an extensive array of injury topics.
American Association of Pediatrics
Click here to go to the website section on Safety & Prevention. There you will find lots of articles about children's safety at home, at play, on the go, and all around.
Haga clic aquí para su página web en español.
If you're looking for information that you can trust about kids and teens that's free of "doctor speak," KidsHealth is the most-visited site on the Web for information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years. The link above will take you to their page with Household Safety Checklists.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration works to save lives on our nation's roadways including helping keep children safe on the road. The Parents Central section of their website has information about keeping children safe in and around vehicles, how to install car seats, an age and size chart, information about recalls, and much more.
Red Cross has water safety resources, tips, and general child water safety information. Most of the other websites listed here do as well, so feel free to search for water safety on the other sites.
Safe Kids Worldwide is a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children, the number one killer of kids in the United States. Around the world, a child dies from an unintentional injury every 30 seconds. And millions of children are injured in ways that can affect them for a lifetime. Their website can help you keep your children safe from preventable tragedies.
University of Miami's Poison Control Center has checklists and resources for poison control, home safety, first aid, and plants and animals including venomous "critters". This is a great resource for issues specific to our region of the country. They also have some basic information in Spanish.
Visit our Parenting page for resources and information on this topic.
Physical Developmental Delays: What to Look For
Physical developmental delays are when children aren’t doing activities (like rolling over, sitting without support, or walking) that other children their age are doing. Developmental delays can be a sign of a serious health condition, so it’s important to talk with your child’s pediatrician about them.
AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recently launched Physical Developmental Delays: What to Look For, an interactive online tool, for parents of children ages 5 and younger who are concerned about their child's motor development. Use this website to learn more about physical developmental delays for children ages 5 and under. The information is meant to help you start a conversation with your child’s pediatrician.
Remember, all children develop in different ways. This site can serve as a guide if you have a feeling that something is wrong. You know your child best.
Playgroups and Activities
Visit our Playgroups and Activities page for resources and information on this topic.
Perinatal Mood Anxiety Disorders
Most women expect that the birth of their child will be a time filled with joy, and that is often the case. However, sometimes a mother who has recently given birth experiences more than just the 'usual baby blues'. Sometimes, anxiety and depression are a new mom's constant companion.
PMAD stands for Perinatal Mood Anxiety Disorders, encompassing a wider variety of diagnoses formerly known as postpartum depression. Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition is passionate about having resources to address PMAD in the Keys, as it comes to the forefront of maternal and child health in our community.
For more information on postpartum depression and anxiety, visit our PMAD page.
Visit our Pregnancy page for resources and information on this topic.
Pool and Water Safety
Here in the Keys, almost every child is exposed to dangers related to pools or the ocean. Wise, informed parenting can minimize those dangers and help you know how to keep your children safe when they are in or on the water.
FKHSC is now a PoolSafely Partner! Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1-4. Florida leads the country in drowning deaths of children in that age group. Even if you don't have a pool at your home, education can help them at other's pools and even when they're playing in the ocean.
We have some of the PoolSafely supplies available for parents, including the Water Watcher Cards with Lanyards. This information card on a lanyard helps designate an adult water watcher to ensure someone is always supervising children in and near water. The card lists the Pool Safely safety steps and instructions for the supervising adult. Call us a 305-293-8424 if you would like some of these free resources.
Go to PoolSafely's Kids' Corner to take the PoolSafely Pledge, learn the PoolSafely song, download an app for kids, and more. Educating yourself and your children can help prevent a tragedy.
Knowing how to select a life jacket can be confusing. Here's a great brochure entitled How to Choose a Life Jacket, from the US Coast Guard's boating safety division. Their website has lots more information on choosing and wearing life jackets, too.
AAA State of Play is a commercial playground equipment company. They have a good list of water safety resources on their website, which you might find useful.
Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.
Reach Out and Read families read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills. During the preschool years, children served by Reach Out and Read score three to six months ahead of their non-Reach Out and Read peers on vocabulary tests. These early foundational language skills help start children on a path of success when they enter school.
Visit their online Resource Center for tips on choosing books and reading to your children, recommended book lists, audiobooks you can listen to online with your child, recommended book lists, literacy information, and much more.
Sorrow and Bereavement after Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Loss of a Child
The TEARS Foundation is a non-profit organization that seeks to compassionately assist bereaved parents with the financial expenses they face in making final arrangements for their precious baby who has died. Many of the founders and volunteers at The TEARS Foundation have experienced the loss of their own baby, and want to reach out in this way to support newly bereaved parents in their time of devastating sorrow. They offer free support groups and trained "Peer Companions" available to talk over the phone or meet with you.
Another resource is The Compassionate Friends, who provide highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family. They can be contacted at compassionatefriends.org or 877-969-0010.
One more web site with resources is BabyLossComfort.com. This site offers resources as well as ideas for what to say to a parent who has experienced loss. If you have experienced this heartbreak, please don’t go through it alone.
Healing Hearts Infant Bereavement Resources program, an initiative of Cribs for Kids®, is another resource that assists families who have been touched by a crisis in pregnancy or the death of a baby.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder can be a reality after losing a baby or having a miscarriage. MotherToBaby.org's genetic counselor, Ginger Nichols, went through the unimaginable, but now she's sharing her story to help others "find the light."
Visit their online blog and website, or read the blog entry in the downloadable files.
Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support is a community for anyone who experiences the tragic death of a baby. They serve parents, grandparents, siblings, and others in the family unit, as well as the professionals who care for grieving families. Share is a national organization with over 75 chapters in 29 states. Services include bed-side companions, phone support, face-to-face support group meetings, resource packets, private online communities, memorial events, training for caregivers, and so much more.
They have several Facebook Groups:
Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support (Share informational page)
Share Bereaved Families Peer Support
Share Subsequent Pregnancy Peer Support
Key West Resources
Start by speaking with your obstetrical provider. If you aren't comfortable speaking with him, try your gynecologist, or one of these other resources.
The Guidance Care Clinic - 305-434-7660; counseling and mental health services in KW
Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea - (305) 294-1018; weekly bereavement support group
Arianna Nesbitt (CEO of FKHSC) - 305-923-9125; has some training through her doula certification and is willing to help
DePoo Hospital - 305-394-5535 x 8454
Thinking About Baby
Visit our Thinking About a Baby page for resources and information on this topic.
Traveling with Children
Traveling with children can be fun, but it can also be challenging. We have put together a list of resources that you might find helpful. Visit our Traveling with Children page for more information.