Today, Commissioner David A. Hansell, of the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), announced the creation of an office within the agency dedicated entirely to education, information and outreach to prevent accidents and injuries among children. The Office of Child Safety and Injury Prevention will support ongoing child safety campaigns, including those related to unsafe sleep practices, hot car tragedies, window guards, unsafe storage of prescription medications and, most recently, accidental ingestion of cannabis edibles.
“There is nothing more important than keeping children safe, and that includes preventing tragic accidents from happening. In carrying out our core mission, the new Office of Child Safety and Injury Prevention will spearhead our ongoing work in empowering families with the life-saving information they need to better prevent tragic accidents from occurring in the home,” said Commissioner David A. Hansell. “Especially as new safety issues emerge, like the uptick in accidental ingestion of cannabis edibles among children, a centralized office dedicated to preventing future accidents is crucial. ACS appreciates the support and guidance from Casey Family Programs in the development of this new Office.”
“As a father, I know that ensuring the safety of our children is the most important thing parents and guardians can do,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “Every effort to protect our city’s children deserves support and I applaud ACS and Commissioner Hansell for their work in protecting the city’s littlest ones.”
“We commend ACS’s efforts to establish this innovative office to further a comprehensive public health approach to improving child safety and preventing injuries and fatalities,” said David Sanders, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Systems Improvement, Casey Family Programs.
In 2017, Commissioner Hansell created a new division in ACS, the Division of Child and Family Well-Being (CFWB), which is focused on services for families outside the traditional child protection system, including providing parents with the resources and information to keep children safe. The work in this division includes the provision of quality early care services, implementation of the City’s Family Enrichment Centers, the Community Partnership Programs and public education campaigns. The new Office of Child Safety and Injury Prevention will sit within the Division of Child and Family Well-Being and spearhead the agency’s child safety campaigns.
The Office of Child Safety and Injury Prevention will initially support the following child safety campaigns:
Preventing Accidental Ingestion of Cannabis Edibles
ACS is educating parents about the importance of storing cannabis edibles “up and away” out of children’s reach and out of children’s sight. Many of these products look identical to typical desserts, candies and chocolate bars. ACS is urging parents to place these products in child proof containers and locked boxes. In the event that a child does accidentally swallow a cannabis edible, call 911 immediately or the NYC Poison Control Center: 212- POISONS.
Each year, between 40 to 50 babies in New York City die from a preventable, sleep-related injury. The New York City Infant Safe Sleep Initiative encourages parents and caregivers to learn the ABCs of safe sleep. Infants should sleep Alone, on their Backs, in a safety-approved Crib. Infants less than a year old should not sleep in adult beds, or with blankets or quilts which create a risk of suffocation. Instead, to keep babies warm and safe, parents and caregivers are urged to dress babies in an extra layer of infant clothing or in a wearable blanket.
Window Guard Safety
Each year, young children are injured or die in falls from unguarded windows, even from the first floor. These tragedies are preventable with properly installed and approved window guards, which are required in many residential buildings. The NYC Health Code requires owners of buildings of three or more apartments to provide and properly install window guards on all windows in an apartment where children 10-years-old or younger live and in each hallway window.
Safe Medication and Household Chemical Storage
Parents and caregivers should make sure medications and potentially dangerous household items are stored out of children’s reach. Common household products such as laundry detergent pods, household cleaners (oil-based products such as pine oil and furniture polish), mouthwash and perfumes, and hand sanitizer, among other products can be easily mistaken for candy, food or drinks and are also dangerous to children.
Look Before You Lock
The Look Before You Lock campaign urges parents and caregivers to always check the backseat of the car before leaving and locking it. Vehicles can heat up quickly, which can be extremely dangerous for children as their bodies heat up three times faster than an adult’s, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. New Yorkers should always be aware of the danger of hot cars and the steps they can take to help keep children safe.