child safety

Judge Sides With Charter Schools In Safety Fight

Mar 13, 2019
Woman addressing classroom full of children
Wikimedia Commons

In a decision that could have statewide implications, an administrative law judge Tuesday ruled that the Palm Beach County School Board is required to assign safety officers to charter schools under a law passed last year. 

August is Child Safety Awareness Month, and Florida officials are reminding motorists to always buckle up their kids.

Consumer Product Safety Commission

New research suggests parents are doing a better job of keeping household medicines out of the hands of young children.

Emergency room visits by children who swallowed medicine while unsupervised have declined substantially, reversing an earlier trend, the study found. By contrast, ER visits for bad reactions from medicines meant for kids and given by parents increased during the same time.

Here are five things to know about the study, published Monday in Pediatrics:

The head of Florida’s child welfare agency says he’s renewing his commitment to making his agency better.

Megan Milanese / WUSF

Police in South Florida say an 11-month-old baby died after being left inside a sport utility vehicle parked outside an apartment near Fort Lauderdale.

It is the third Florida child to die after being left in a vehicle this year, according to  Nationwide, nine children have died from vehicular heatstroke deaths in 2015.

A man accused of throwing his daughter off a bridge has been found incompetent to stand trial in her death.

John Jonchuck appeared in court Tuesday. The case has been reset for a status check on Feb. 17.

If the court rules in line with the doctors' reports, Jonchuck would likely be sent to a hospital for six months before his case returns to court for another status check.

Jonchuck was arrested Jan. 8 after authorities said he dropped 5-year-old Phoebe more than 60 feet off a bridge.

He has a history of mental health issues.

Department of Children and Families

State child welfare officials have recruited more than 600 news foster homes.

 The increase comes after lawmakers passed a measure in 2013 aimed at improving the quality of people recruited to become foster parents and help retaining them. The program also works to improve child safety and permanency for foster children.

Approximately 10,000 children are in foster placements throughout the state.


It’s a familiar sight for many commuters: a yellow school bus slows to a stop, a red stop sign swings out, and children get on or off the bus.

Passing a school bus that’s stopped could soon get you a reckless driving charge in Florida, according to a new bill proposed this week.

The new bill is called Gabby’s Law for School Bus Stop Safety. It’s named after 12-year-old Gabby Mair, who was hit by a car after getting off the school bus in DeBary in 2010. The next day, she was pronounced brain dead. 

The country’s largest auto club is making it easier for Florida parents to comply with a revamped child car seat law.

As of the New Year, state law now requires that children need to be secured in car-safety seats until the age of six.  Previously, kids could transition to regular adult seat belts as young as age four.

Each Friday, throughout the month of January, AAA will be giving away free booster car seats.

AAA Director of Traffic Safety Culture Michele Harris says the organization takes child safety seriously.

Mary Shedden / Health News Florida

Florida is about to increase the age requirement for children riding in car seats.

As of Thursday, the law requires five-point restraints until a child's sixth birthday. That's two years more that kids need to wait before moving into a booster seat.

Petra Vybiralova  is a program supervisor at the Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition. She says the law may help lower the number of deaths and injuries.

Sleep Dangers Target of DCF Campaign

Dec 9, 2014
Department of Children and Families

More than 100 babies died in Florida last year as a result of unsafe sleep practices. It was the leading cause of preventable infant death in the state.

This holiday season, Florida’s Department of Children and Families is teaming with Healthy Families Florida, asking residents to consider donating a “SleepSack” to families in need. Sleep sacks are designed to never cover a baby’s face while it rests.

Administrators with the Florida Department of Children and Families had recommended that a child protection program administrator be fired after involvement in a 2013 case where a 2-year-old was killed by his mother’s boyfriend.

U.S. Navy

Florida has the highest rate of unintentional child drownings in the country. Since 2011, more than 200 children have drowned statewide.

However, something as simple as swim lessons can make a big difference.

Monica Mirza is the director at the New Tampa YMCA, which has teamed up with the University Area Community Development Center to provide free swim lessons to low-income children.  According to Mirza, swim lessons can cut the risk of drowning by 88 percent.


After an embarrassing article appeared in The Miami Herald in September, a regional supervisor for the Department of Children and Families ordered workers not to file required incident reports on the deaths of children who were supposed to be safeguarded by DCF, the Herald reports.

The Florida Senate rejected a last-minute amendment supported by Gov. Rick Scott’s administration that would have severely weakened a bill meant to overhaul child welfare laws,  the Miami Herald reports.

A 9-year-old boy who was almost stabbed to death by his own father is suing the Florida Department of Children and Families for not doing enough to protect him and his brother, who died after the brutal attack, the Miami Herald reports (Editor’s note: readers may encounter paywall).

After the unnecessary deaths of four Florida children under supervision of the Department of Children and Families, the agency has begun training 5,000 caseworkers across the state on how to assess a child’s safety, the Associated Press reports. 

The state Department of Children and Families labeled a family as high-risk after the mother fell asleep driving drunk with a child unbelted in the front seat, but didn’t follow through; now a baby is dead, The Miami Herald reports. Editor’s note: Readers may encounter paywall.