Nine-year-old Gavyn Slykhuis cools off in the spray of a fountain at the Red Ridge Park kids water park in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 29, 2013. Saturday’s daytime high was expected to reach 117 degrees, which is the city’s all-time high. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
News Release: DCF
TALLAHASSEE – The summer months are approaching and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is reminding parents to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of their children throughout the entire season.
“Parents must have full confidence that their children are being well cared for when they’re not around, especially during the summer months when children are out of school.” Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo said. “We urge parents to take every step possible to help ensure their kids’ safety; no question should be left unasked.”
Selecting a Caregiver
More than 12,000 incidents of child abuse or neglect last year involved a non-relative caregiver. In response, DCF launched the “Who’s Really Watching Your Child?” campaign targeted toward parents who need childcare but may know little about their selected caregiver.
In partnership with more than 30 statewide agencies and organizations, the campaign provides parenting programs, child care initiatives, pediatrician support, and child protective investigator, case worker and child care provider training. For more information and resources, visit:
Choosing a Summer Camp
Florida law requires all summer camp personnel to be background screened, including owners, operators, employees and volunteers who provide summer care for children. DCF collects and publishes a voluntary listing of summer camp programs that have acknowledged screening requirements. Parents are encouraged to ask questions regarding staff background checks and training in CPR and first aid when selecting summer programs and camps. Parents should additionally check to see if they are welcome to visit and observe the camp in action or attend activities with their child at any given time, including water activities. For more information on screening requirements and questions to ask visit: www.myflfamilies.com/summercamps
In Florida, drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages 1- 4. There should always be a responsible adult present when a child is engaging in water activities. Distractions such as cell phone use or lengthy conversations should be avoided as drowning can occur in minutes.
It is also important to have physical barriers put in place around home pools and to have children take swim lessons. For more water safety tips
High Temperatures, Hot Cars
The effect of high temperatures on vehicles is a dangerous a threat to young children left behind in cars, especially during the summer. The temperature inside a car can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. The heat can be deadly, especially for children because their body temperatures rise five times faster than adults. To avoid this, be sure to place important items such as purses, briefcases, or even lunches in the back seat as a reminder to check before locking up and leaving – “Look Before You Lock.”
If there is a change in plans and someone else is responsible for transporting children, parents should have them call at drop off to know everyone made it safely.