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Child Death Review Finds Ways To Prevent Kids From Dying

The Child Death Review discusses recent child deaths and ways to prevent them
Quincy J. Walters
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

When a child dies, it affects a whole community. That's why every other month, people from hospitals, law enforcement and health departments review cases of criminal or accidental deaths of kids. It's called the Child Death Review. Monday, the group focused on accidental deaths in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties, because it says those deaths go up as school gets out for summer. 

The meeting began with a discussion on a potential way to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It's when a baby dies in their sleep. 

The group discussed a type of box you put on the floor for babies to sleep in, instead of co-sleeping in the parents' bed, which would reduce the chance of suffocation or falling. 

"What about pets getting to the kid?" someone asks. "What if you step on the baby?" another wonders.

The group decides to revisit the topic for another time. 

Francine Donnorummo, special victim's unit chief at the state attorney's office and leader of the review, said summer means potential for a lot of accidental child deaths. It's hot out. 

"Children left in cars is a huge problem. They can die very quickly," Donnorummo said. "Their bodies heat up at a much faster rate than adults, so we try to make the community aware of that problem."

Since January 2016, seven kids have died in hot cars in Fla. That's from website that keeps a list of child heat strokes across the country. 

In the summer, with no school, kids will be in the pool more often. Two kids--aged one and three years old--drowned last week in Cape Coral

According to the Florida Department of Health, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for Florida's children aged one to four. More young kids drown in this state than anywhere in the country. 

"The slider door alarms. Lock the doors," Donnorummo said. "Be aware that your kids doesn't know how to swum and take them to a swimming lesson."

She said Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties offer free swim lessons. 

Sally Kruescher, with Galisano Children's Hospital, said parents being good role models can also help prevent child deaths. 

"When you go out bike riding with your kids, wear a helmet," she said. "Make sure they're wearing a helmet."

Kruescher said the Child Death Review is important because it analyzes kids' deaths and tries to find ways to prevent them. She said when a child dies, an entire community is affected. 

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Quincy Walters is a reporter and backup host for WGCU.