Category Archives: Updates

Guest Post: Connections in Parenting, by Heidi Godman

Heidi GodmanConnections in Parenting

By Heidi Godman, Keynote Speaker for our upcoming “Giving Sarasota a Healthy Start” Luncheon, Friday April 28th, 11am – 1pm at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Catered by Mattison’s

It happens in the grocery store, the hair salon, the shopping mall, and even on my morning walk: someone recognizes me from my job, and asks about my children. Being recognized is part of the deal when you have a public career, as I did when I anchored the local news, and still do now that I host a daily radio program. The fact that people are interested in my family says a lot about the power of connection.

There’s an intimate exchange when you watch an anchor on TV or listen to someone on the radio or a podcast. In that moment, you feel the information is for your eyes or ears only. Even though you know that many others are consuming the same details, it doesn’t diminish the experience. If you choose to watch or listen to an anchor or host on a regular basis, it’s likely because you feel a personal connection. This is true on the national level and even here in our market.

It’s no surprise, then, that people who’ve connected with me have picked up on what’s most important to me: my family. Viewers watched me go from an inexperienced young reporter to a working-mom-anchor. They saw my wedding on the news. They saw me anchoring through three pregnancies. They heard me talk about my family a lot on TV, and they can hear me talking about them now on my radio program.

If you’ve connected with me, then you get it that I love what I do for a living, but I am proudest of being a mom, and raising three amazing kids with my best friend and partner of 30 years. When you ask about my children, I get it that you feel a connection, and you care.

What will I say if you ask? I’ll probably tell you that the children are happy and healthy, in their teens and early 20s now, and towering above my 5’2” frame. I may tell you the latest—that Christopher is getting ready to go to law school; that Carson is rowing and on the track team; or that Alexa just got accepted to Girls State, hosted by the American Legion.

Heidi Godman with her son ChrisIf you want insider info, I may tell you what it was like when my kids were little and I had baby schmutz on my shoulder as I anchored the news; how I coped with alarming news details that I had to compartmentalize when I went home to my family each night; or how those details, and the health information that I continue to research and report, have turned me into a protective, vigilant parent.

And if you ask about my family, please know that I’m going to ask about yours. It’s not just because I’m a reporter and naturally nosy. It’s because I care right back. Beyond our jobs, we have a bond as parents; it’s our connection to each other. It’s recognizable whether you have a public career or not. And it’s reason enough to ask each other about our kids, whether we meet in a grocery store, a shopping mall, or in a neighborhood on a morning walk.

To hear more from Heidi, check out her show Health Check with Heidi Godman, and make sure to come to our “Giving Sarasota a Healthy Start” Luncheon, where she will be the keynote speaker! Click here for more information and to purchase tickets and sponsorships! 

Health Check with Heidi Godman

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The 2017 Infant Feeding Survey is here!

Click here to download the 2017 Infant Feeding Survey Flyer

The Healthy Start Coalition’s 2017 Infant Feeding Survey is underway!

We are looking for moms with babies up to 24 months old who live in Sarasota County to take part in our 2017 Infant Feeding Survey! Help us learn more about infant feeding trends in Sarasota and be entered in a raffle for a $50 Target Gift Card just for participating.

Survey participants must:

  • have a child under 24 months
  • live in Sarasota County

The survey closes on March 11th. To take the survey, participants can scan the QR Code on the flyer, go directly to the survey at:

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. Please share as we’d like to get an accurate picture of Sarasota County’s feeding methods, support, and services. Thank you!!


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Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program – Spaces Available for Spanish-Speaking Moms!

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Press Release: Healthy Start Coalition Receives $30,000 Grant from the Bank of America Client Foundation to support Save My Life Program

save-my-life-logo-reduxHealthy Start Coalition Receives $30,000 Grant from the Bank of America Client Foundation to support Save My Life Program

Sarasota, FL – The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, Inc. was recently awarded a $30,000 grant from the Bank of America Client Foundation’s Frederic W. and Margaret D. Kurtz Fund to continue their work reducing Racial Disparities during pregnancy and after birth via the Save My Life Program.

Created in 2006 in response to the alarming racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes, the Save My Life Program was designed to address the significantly higher rates of fetal and infant death experience among the African-American community. The Save My Life Program offers culturally relevant education about a variety of health and pregnancy related topics on a one-to-one or small group basis. The Program provides the tools and information women need to have healthy pregnancies, healthy children, and become healthy themselves.

Free classes are available at various locations throughout the Newtown and North Sarasota areas and cover topics such as childbirth education, breastfeeding, nutrition, safe sleep, preconception and interconception health, smoking cessation, and more. Save My Life also offers free one-on-one breastfeeding support after the birth of the baby, increasing the likelihood that nursing will continue allowing babies to get the right balance of nutrients, immune protection, and bonding to help them get a healthy start.

“The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County is grateful to the Bank of America Client Foundation for the renewal of this grant,” says Executive Director, Shon Ewens. “The Save My Life Program is an essential part of the Newtown Community. Without this funding, we wouldn’t be able to ensure that these important services are available to moms and babies that need them.”

The Save My Life Program reaches about a hundred pregnant women, new mothers, and women of childbearing age each year. For more information about the program and all of The Healthy Start Coalition’s services, please visit

Please call for more information, quotes, or client stories.


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October is Infant Safe Sleep Month

roomsharing2October is Infant Safe Sleep Month in Sarasota County. In 2015 over 120 infants in Florida died because of unsafe sleep situations – sleeping in car seats, on couches, or sharing a bed with siblings or adults. It is the leading cause of death for infants under the age of one in the state of Florida. These deaths, while very tragic, can also be prevented. There are a few simple things you can to keep your baby safe during sleep.

Remember the ABCs:

Alone. Babies should sleep alone in their own crib or bassinet, but in the same room, next to where parents sleep.

Back.  Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night.

Crib. Use a firm sleep surface, in a safety-approved crib, covered with a fitted sheet, free from soft objects such as pillows, toys, crib bumpers, or loose bedding.

To keep your baby safe there are additional things to you can do:

Breastfeed! Breastfeeding offers so many protections for babies including cutting the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in half. Breastfeed your baby for at least six months, but longer is better! If you need help breastfeeding contact Healthy Start at 941-861-2905.

Smoke free! Do not smoke around your baby or in the same room where your baby sleeps. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to for your health and the health of your little one. For help in quitting, call the Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit

placing_babyOffer a pacifier. When placing your baby to sleep, offer – but do not force – a pacifier. Do not use pacifier holders or ties.  If breastfeeding, wait until the baby is at least one month old and breastfeeding is well established to offer a pacifier.

Prevent overheating. Keep the temperature of the room where baby is sleeping comfortable for a lightly clothed adult and do not overdress your baby.

Keep hazards out of reach. Make sure mobiles, strings from blinds and curtains, or other hazards are out of baby’s reach.

Make sure ALL of your child’s caregivers know these Safe Sleep Tips.

For more information on Safe Sleep education offered in Sarasota County visit


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Hurricane Tips for Pregnant Women and Moms

breastfeeding-hurricanePublished September 1, 2016


Hurricane season can be stressful, especially during pregnancy and as a new mom. Being prepared can help you and your family stay safe!

If you have medical conditions or are close to delivery, discuss a plan with your doctor to continue care in case of an emergency. Keep a copy of documents such as medical records, insurance, medications list, and healthcare provider information together to bring to shelters if evacuation is necessary. Make sure everything is in a sealable, plastic bag, and medication is in its original container if possible. Fill any medications before the hurricane makes landfall to ensure you have enough of a supply on hand.

If you are breastfeeding – During a storm babies have an increased need for comfort and the disease-fighting factors provided by breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the recommended feeding method during an emergency because it is safe – refrigeration, clean bottles and water can be a challenge.

While stress can affect milk supply, hormones released during breastfeeding can be calming for both mom and baby.

If you are formula feeding – If breastfeeding is not possible, make sure to have a supply of single-serving ready-to-feed formula on hand. This is the best formula option during an emergency as ready-to-feed formula does not need to be mixed with water. Water can sometimes become unavailable or contaminated during an emergency. Do not use water treated with iodine or chlorine tablets to prepare concentrated or powdered formula.

Ready-to-feed formula must be refrigerated after opening, so if refrigeration is unavailable, any unused portion must be discarded.

If you go to a shelter. Call in advance whenever possible – make sure they are accepting people and verify directions. Find out what you need to bring. You will most likely need baby essentials (portable crib, baby clothes, diapers), sleeping needs (pillow, blanket, sleeping bag), and toiletries.  It can be loud and stressful in shelters, bring items to help soothe your baby (pacifiers, lovey) as well as medical needs such as non-aspirin liquid pain reliever, thermometer, hand sanitizer, and any prescriptions.


Cleanup and Recovery. Once the storm has passed, there will be a period of cleanup and recovery. Make sure to take care of yourself, so that you can take care of your baby. Drink water or if clean water is not available, beverages that do not contain alcohol or caffeine.

If you gave birth recently, follow all the instructions your doctor or midwife gave you. Do not lift heavy objects, especially if you are pregnant or early postpartum.

Take precautions, make a plan, and stay informed and you and your family can weather the storm safely.

For more information on emergency preparedness during pregnancy visit:

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#BeTheOne – Giving Dollars, Saving Lives.


baby-face-1-1310507Giving Dollars, Saving Lives

How your gifts changed lives during the 2015 Giving Challenge.


A safe place to sleep. Most of us might not think twice about it, but for some new parents, affording a safe crib is a challenge. The funds raised by the 2015 Giving Challenge went directly to our families in need, providing education and support services to ensure that their babies get what every baby deserves – a healthy start in life.

The majority of the funds provided life-saving Safe Sleep kits and education to new parents, who otherwise would have struggled to supply what so many of us take for granted – a safe place to put their babies to sleep.  Through the Save My Life and Healthy Start programs, we provided over fifty kits and classes to at-risk families in our community.

That means fifty babies have a safe place to close their eyes, fifty babies have parents who know to put them to sleep on their backs, and fifty babies have a better chance of waking up in the morning to learn, play, and grow.


SoExciteIn 2015 the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County raised $5,373.80 through the Giving Challenge. We partnered with the Postpartum Society of Florida* to create “The Baby Office” a spoof on The Office, a popular television show. This video was a fun way to bring attention to both of our organizations’ needs and inform audiences what services we provide families in our community.

While the project was fun, the results were so much more. We appreciate everyone who donated, everyone who dug deep into their heart and decided that they would contribute – no matter how small – to help make a change in someone else’s life.

One donation of less than $100 can provide a family with a safe bed for their baby to sleep, a crib sheet, a safe sleep sac, pacifiers, education material, and, more importantly, the knowledge and support to ensure that they are doing the best they can to be a good parent.


GC16 Logo GreenAs we move into the 2016 Giving Challenge, the need in our community is even greater. We hope that you’ll think of us, and the families we support, when it’s time to open your wallets – and your hearts. Be the one who makes a lasting impact, be the one who helps save a life. #BeTheOne

*Our partner for the 2015 Giving Challenge, the Postpartum Society of Florida, was able to train 16 additional mental health professionals in identifying and treating PMADs [Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders], supply area hospitals with 1,000 MiTunes CDs, and arm 1,000 families with Mother-Infant Wellness support and resource connection, and launch an original peer support volunteer-training program called SISTERMoms: Mentorship for New Mothers, the first of its kind anywhere.

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World Breastfeeding Week – Door/Window/Office Decorating Contest!

HSC-WBW-Web Birthways3World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year on August 1-7th in more than 120 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.

Click here to sign up! 

To celebrate, the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County and the Breastfeeding Advocates of Sarasota County are continuing our fabulous Decorating Contest. After submitting the entry form (available here), decorate any public space (door, window, bulletin board, etc.) with a message that promotes or supports breastfeeding. This decoration must be displayed at minimum from August 1-7 but you are welcome (and encouraged!) to display it throughout the month of August. Submit photos with a brief explanation of your entry to by August 5th.
WBWDDWebThe coveted “Golden Nipple” Award will be presented for the best entry in a category. Past awards include: Most Educational, Best Use of Humor, Most Beautiful, Creative Use of Materials, Best Use of Cultural Diversity, Best Use of Theme, and MORE!
Winners will be announced the week of August 10th.
Sponsored by the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County and the Breastfeeding Advocates of Sarasota County.
For previous year entries click here.
For more information, please contact us at 941-373-7070 or

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Free Drop-In Breastfeeding Support!

SCHD Drop in BF FlyerDo you have questions or concerns about breastfeeding? Want to make sure you have a great latch? Pregnant? Want to meet other local breastfeeding moms? Join the Breastfeeding Advocates of Sarasota County (BASC) for 3 free weekly drop-in groups throughout May and June! Free $10 Publix Gift Cards or Diapers (while supplies last) just for attending. Light refreshments provided!

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Client Story: Corrie, Tim, and baby Tim Jr.

Published April 1st, 2016

Here at Healthy Start we are proud to see many success stories of new moms making positive life changes for their babies! Below is a wonderful testimony from a dedicated mom who worked hard to give her baby boy a better life.

From her Care Coordinator, Anne:

DSC_0707“One of the biggest challenges as a care coordinator is working with homeless families trying to find safe housing.  Drugs, crime and lack of income are often  barriers in accessing care.  Healthy Start referred Corrie and her family to Trinity without Borders and they were able to obtain stable housing. Shortly after, Corrie was incarcerated and relocated into to PAR Village in Pinellas County. PAR is a residential treatment center for moms who need help breaking the cycle of substance abuse.

While Corrie received treatment,  Tim was able to maintain housing and support Corrie in her recovery. Soon, they became parents to a healthy baby boy!  As soon as Corrie returned to Sarasota she called Healthy Start and requested services.  Healthy Start assisted Corrie in navigating through Florida Managed Medical Assistance, and Tim Jr. could get a pediatrician right away which is where this photo was taken. ”

From Mom Corrie:


“What a blessing it is to be selected based on a photo of my beautiful family for the soul reason of being an instrument of Hope to other families, other parents, other people in general.

Just so you know this time last year there were no smiles, no memories, and definitely no kids in my life simply as a result of my self obsession, self will, and poor decision making. The picture you see is proof that with hard work, willingness, and not using no matter what, anything is possible. Special thanks go to many people…. Judge Andrew Owens and the whole Sarasota County Drug Court staff….the staff at PAR Village in Largo, Florida… Anne Gaines with Healthy Start…. Valerie Gilroy with Trinity Without Borders, and friends and family.

The message is hope, the promise is freedom, that an addict, any addict, can stop using, lose the desire to use, and find a new way to live”


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January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

PACTBirth defects are common, costly, and critical. Every 4½ minutes, a baby is born with a major birth defect in the United States. Become an active participant in National Birth Defects Prevention Month by joining the nationwide effort to raise awareness of birth defects, their causes and their impact.

We know that not all birth defects can be prevented. However, we encourage all women to make healthy choices and adopt healthy habits to help lower their risk of having a baby born with a birth defect. This year we are encouraging all women to make a PACT for their own health and the family they may have one day.

Plan ahead

  • Get as healthy as you can before you get pregnant.
  • Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.

Avoid harmful substances

  • Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
  • Be careful with harmful exposures at work and home.

Choose a healthy lifestyle

  • Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean proteins, and healthy fats and oils.
  • Be physically active.
  • Work to get medical conditions like diabetes under control.

Talk to your healthcare provider

  • Get a medical checkup.
  • Discuss all medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Talk about your family medical history.

Women and their loved ones can participate in a PACT and take these important steps toward a healthy pregnancy. Share your own tips for healthy pregnancy using #LivingMyPACT on social media.

The National Birth Defects Prevention Network, in collaboration with many state and local organizations, are working together to raise awareness of birth defects and encourage women to make a PACT for prevention. Learn more about the effect you can have on birth defects at

For more information on getting healthy before or between pregnancies, visit our Show Your Love page.

[From: National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN)]

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Press Release: Sarasota County Recognizes Infant Safe Sleep Month

For Immediate Release: October 9th, 2015

Sarasota County Recognizes Infant Safe Sleep Month

Safe Sleep Sarasota initiative aims to reduce child deaths due to unsafe sleep

Sarasota, FL – Unsafe sleep is the leading cause of death for children under the age of one in Florida. In 2014 over 130 Florida infants died as a result of unsafe sleep practices, including four in Sarasota County. In response to these deaths, The Safe Sleep Sarasota initiative, a collaboration of 13 different agencies, was created to address this issue and prevent future infant fatalities.

On Sept. 22, the Sarasota County Commission proclaimed October “Infant Safe Sleep Month,” in recognition of this problem and the collaborative effort local organizations have made to address it. Collaborative organizations include: The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County, Children First, Early Learning Coalition, Family Safety Alliance, Healthy Families / The Florida Center, Safe Children Coalition, The Sarasota Y, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Safe Kids, and the Child Protection Center.

Since the launch of the Safe Sleep Sarasota Initiative in 2014, Sarasota County has reported only one fatality due to unsafe sleep conditions, a major decline from previous years.

“It is absolutely heart-wrenching to learn of each young, precious life lost to this tragically preventable cause,” says Shon Ewens, Executive Director for the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County. “We started seeing an increase in unsafe sleep and SUIDS [Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome] related deaths and knew we just had to do something about it.”

The initiative has three components: providing education to childcare sites, providing education to parents and the community at-large, and providing safe sleep kits to families in need. Since its relaunch, 53 child care sites have been trained in Safe Sleep practices. Each site then provided training for their staff and education for parents. Another 65 professionals (Child Protection Investigators, case workers, etc.) received training so they can provide up-to-date evidence-based education for their clients. More professional trainings are underway this month.

Additionally, the initiative has provided 75 safe sleep kits, including education on proper use, to 70 families who would otherwise not have a safe, designated place for their baby to sleep. Each safe sleep kit contains a
pack n’ play, crib sheet with a safe sleep message, Halo sleep sack, two pacifiers, and information about how to create a safe sleep environment for their infants. Funding for Safe Sleep Kits was provided by the Ruth DeLynn Emerging Needs Fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, as well as through private donations.

The newest strategy has been the addition of a Hospital Pledge for new moms who attend Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s discharge class. This includes a thorough Safe Sleep component. Families who sign the pledge will receive a certificate and educational materials.

The Safe Sleep Sarasota Initiative was launched at a press conference on October 30, 2014 with Florida Surgeon General, Dr. John Armstrong, and Secretary of the Department of Children and Families, Mike Carroll, in attendance.

This program, including the safe sleep kits and education, is funded entirely by grants and donations. If you would like to learn more about the Safe Sleep Sarasota Initiative, get involved, or make a donation, visit:

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Ciera Coleman at 941-373-7070 ext. 303 or email at

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Thanks for the Mammaries!

This post is part of our 2nd Annual Breastfeeding Blog Hop! Please visit the other participating blogs for more perspectives on breastfeeding. Links are provided at the bottom of our post.


Every August we celebrate National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week (1st-7th of August). We have a lot of fun, free activities throughout Sarasota County: Latch-On Sarasota, our Door Decorating Contest, breastfeeding displays, bake-offs, photo shoots, gatherings, and more.


What I love about this month is all the positivity and encouragement, the impactful stories that come from the moms we’ve helped. Sometimes we get so focused on how far we need to go, we forget how far we’ve come.

We’ve seen a lot of changes in breastfeeding over the last 11 years in Sarasota County.  According to Florida Charts in 2004 only 67% of moms breastfed at all. Compare that to a decade later (latest stats are for 2014) where we sit at 86.7%. That’s a HUGE change in a decade.



It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows. There were highs and lows. While Sarasota County has remained ahead of the state average, we experienced a significant decline in 2010. Breastfeeding initiation plummeted from a recorded high of 85% to just under 82%. The recovery was gradual but we did it, although it took four years to make it back over that hump.



We’ve also seen our businesses change the way they support their employees. In 2008, only 11% of employed moms said they were allowed to breastfeed or pump at work. With the adoption of a federal workplace breastfeeding law in 2010, that number rocketed to 50% by 2011, and finally to 62% by 2014.


How was all of this accomplished?


In October of 2009 the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County saw the need for action and rebirthed the Breastfeeding Advocates of Sarasota County (BASC). This taskforce includes organizations and individuals throughout our county – anyone and everyone who had anything to do with pregnant women and breastfeeding are welcome.

We’ve faithfully met every other month since – with an extra meeting thrown in for National Breastfeeding Month planning. Members (past and current) include: the Healthy Start Coalition, Healthy Start Program, Save My Life Program, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Florida  Department of Health, Birthways Family Birthing Center, Rosemary Birthing Home, La Leche League, Lactation Love, Suncoast Lactation, private lactation providers, private citizens, students, pediatricians, area childcare providers, and other businesses. Whew!

Our goal – to provide seamless support for breastfeeding moms from birth until weaning and to normalize breastfeeding in our community. We celebrate our achievements and work together to find solutions to our community’s problems.


Each and every year we’ve proven that Sarasota County has what works: a team, a community that encourages others, and that works together to make sure our most vulnerable citizens have a healthy start. We have a long way to go, but with a dedicated group continually striving to overcome obstacles we’ve got a great foundation.



Interested in joining this fabulous taskforce? Visit us at our website, Facbeook page, or contact



A blog hop is a series of connected blogs all discussing the same topic, in this case breastfeeding in celebration of National Breastfeeding Month. Below our blog post you’ll see links to other participating blogs (not affiliated with the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County). Click the links and see what others have to say.

*The ideas and comments expressed are those of the writers, not necessarily the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County’s.

Do Your Best Sanctuary [DYBS]

Butterfly Birth

Castles & Fairy Tales

In Patti’s Imagination

Maiden to Mother

J. Nichole Parkins


References:; Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County Breastfeeding Survey 2008, 2011, 2014;

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3 Simple Things You Can Do To Keep Your Child Safe in the Heat

Published July 17, 2015:

As temperatures soar so does the risk of heatstroke. Infants and children are especially at risk, as their body temperature can increase 3-5 times as fast as an adult. In as little as 10 minutes a car’s interior can heat up to deadly levels – even with the windows cracked 2 inches.

Every 8 days, on average, a child dies from heat stroke in a vehicle. What makes this especially tragic is that these deaths are preventable.

Remember to ACT to prevent heatstroke in cars:

AVOID In this hectic day and age we often find ourselves rushing from one activity to another. Make it a part of your everyday routine to take a second to double check your car. Account for all children in your care. Never leave a child alone in a vehicle – even if it’s a quick stop. Always keep your doors locked to prevent kids from getting in on their own.

CREATE REMINDERS: Find ways to remind yourself to make sure a child is never left behind in a vehicle. Place a purse or cellphone in the backseat. A stuffed animal in your view to help remind you that your child is in the carseat.

TAKE ACTION: Call 911 or your local emergency center if you see a child alone in a hot car. If the child appears to be in distress due to the heat, please get the child out of the vehicle quickly and cool them down.

Tragedies like these are completely preventable. We can all work together to keep kids safe from heatstroke. To learn more about preventing heatstroke in cars check out:


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Text4Baby launches a new FREE app!

Published February 20th, 2015


We are excited to announce that Text4baby has launched an app!

The Text4baby app makes it even easier for moms to get critical health and safety information to keep both themselves and their babies healthy. As a complementary tool to Text4baby text messages, the free app offers additional content and interactive features that enhance the overall Text4baby experience. Using their app, moms can look forward to:

  • A weekly planning list of medical, developmental and lifestyle calendar items.
  • Polls that allow participants to compare themselves to other moms on topics such as pregnancy symptoms, infant development and emotional experiences.
  • Appointment reminders that are set up through the application itself and received through the text message service.
  • Helpful health hotlines and community resources.

The free Text4baby app is available in the iTunes and Google Play app stores – download today!

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Client Success Story: Brittney and baby Breiel

HSVW-226“My name is Brittney and I am a mother of a healthy 8 month old baby girl, by the name of Breiel. I was the 3rd of 5 children, the last girl. This past February I gave birth to my daughter. I was 21 and scared and lost. I had no idea what I was going to do. I always was the one that said I was never going to have kids, but now I got a blessing. I would always hear about the great help and care that was provided from the “Save My Life” Program, but I never understood it until I became pregnant and decided to attend. I am so thankful that I did go and reach out for help. I had the best support through my whole 9 months. I learned so much that was important and I made sure I was using every piece of information I was given. I came to “Save My Life” to make sure I had a happy, healthy baby, and I do! I would like to say Thank you to every person involved in the Save My Life Program and let them know that is really is a life saver.”

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Is Healthy Start for you? Healthy Start Eligibility FAQs

Are you interested in Healthy Start but you don’t know if you are eligible?

We provide free, confidential, professional help and support for pregnant women and new families regardless of income or insurance status.

There are THREE ways to get into Healthy Start:

  1. Screening IniStock_000007096555XSmall

At your first appointment with your doctor or midwife, you will be offered the Healthy Start Prenatal Screen. It’s a quick and simple form with 16 questions. After your baby is born your hospital, birthing center, or midwife will offer you a similar screen the Healthy Start Infant Screen.

Your doctor or midwife will add up your score and let you know what it is. If your score is high (6 or over for prenatal, 4 or over for infant) you will be offered a referral to Healthy Start.

What does this mean?

It means that according to your answers you or your baby could benefit from FREE services that Healthy Start offers. All of our services are high quality and offered by trained professionals. Participation is voluntary, you can change your mind at any time.

  1. Referral

If you do not have a high score on your screen you may still be eligible for FREE, high quality services through Healthy Start. Your doctor, midwife, or other health professional, can refer you for confidential Healthy Start Services. Ask them if we can help you!

  1. Contacting Us

Even if you do not have a high score on the screen and are not eligible through your doctor or midwife, you can still contact us! We can answer your questions about Healthy Start or discuss your eligibility for services. Call us at 941-861-2905 to talk to someone who can confidentially discuss your needs.

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Job Posting: Contract and Quality Assurance Manager



Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County
1750 17th Street, Building A
Sarasota, FL 34234

Job Summary:

The Contract / Quality Assurance Manager of the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County procures and manages all contracts for Healthy Start Care Coordination, MomCare, FIMR, and Wraparound Service Contracts as well as Quality Assurance.  The position requires a detail-oriented individual with a Bachelor’s (required) or Master’s Degree (preferred) who has at least three years experience in:  Maternal-Child Health; Quality Assurance and Improvement; and Contract Management, Compliance and Budgeting.

This professional should be able to form strong professional relationships with sub-contracted service providers and have excellent

communication and organizational skills.  Proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel is required.

This position is a full-time exempt position includes Health Benefits. The Contract / QA Manager reports directly to the Executive Director.

Agency Description:

The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, Inc., a non-profit, community-based coalition established in 1997, has a mission to improve the Health and well-being of pregnant women, Infants, and young children.

To Apply for This Position:

Send cover letter, resume, references, and salary requirements to

“Our Mission is to Improve the Health and Well-being of
Pregnant Women, Infants, and Young Children.”

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Smoking and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can come with challenges.

Often that challenge is quitting smoking. But why is it so important to quit?

There are over 2,000 chemicals in every puff of a cigarette. Each puff you smoke exposes your unborn baby to these chemicals. The amount of oxygen and nutrients your baby receives is lowered, which can cause problems.

Smoking increases your risk of:

  • Having a baby born too soon or too small
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Having a baby with health, learning, or behavioral problems

Keep in mind.

It’s never too early to quit. Almost half of all pregnancies are not planned. Most pregnancies are not discovered until you are 6-12 weeks along, old enough for some organs to begin forming.

Second-hand smoke, the smoke exhaled by smokers and off the burning end of a cigarette, is dangerous to you and your unborn baby. Second-hand smoke contains 4,000 chemical, 60 of which are known to cause cancer. Exposure to second-hand smoke can cause health problems in you AND your unborn baby.

No amount of smoking is “safe”.

There is FREE help to quit. If you are pregnant and you need help quitting, contact Healthy Start at 941-861-2905 to get help.

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Do you smoke? Healthy Start can help you quit.

We all want our babies to be healthy. Smoking during pregnancy is not only bad for your health, but also bad for your baby’s health. Chemicals in cigarettes and e-cigarettes can cause babies to be born too soon, too small, or have other problems. Smoking around infants and young children is also unhealthy and can cause them to get sick more often, especially colds and breathing problems. Choosing not to smoke is one of the healthiest decisions you can make for you and your children.

Healthy Start offers FREE confidential and professional support to help you quit smoking! If your partner smokes or uses e-cigarettes, we can help him quit too. If you are pregnant or have young children and need help quitting, you are able to receive free services. It doesn’t matter what type of insurance you have – even if you have no insurance – you are still eligible for help. Please contact us at 941-861-2912 to sign up or get more information.

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