New Federal Safety Standard for Infant Sleep Products Help Make Smart Choices to Keep Kids Safe

New Federal Safety Standard for Infant Sleep Products Help Make Smart Choices to Keep Kids Safe

When you walk into any store to buy something for a new baby on the way, you assume that the products on the shelves are safe, but those who’ve spent some time learning about safe sleep recommendations and guidelines know that isn’t the case when it comes to infant sleep products. Earlier this month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the approval of a new federal rule to ensure products marketed or intended for infant sleep will provide a safe sleep environment for babies under 5 months old. Beginning in mid-2022, any product intended or marketed for infant sleep must meet a federal safety standard—a requirement that does not exist today. 

The new mandatory standard will effectively eliminate potentially hazardous sleep products in the marketplace that do not currently meet a CPSC mandatory standard for infant sleep, such as inclined sleepers, travel and compact bassinets, and in-bed sleepers, which have been linked to dozens of infant deaths. Popular products formerly referred to as “inclined sleep products” include several styles that have been recalled over the years. In fact, just this week, Fisher-Price announced a recall of thousands of baby soothers, gliders after 4 infant deaths, including one baby from Colorado.  

“This change will be historic and save lives in Colorado,” said Kate Jankovsky, childhood adversity prevention manager with the Violence and Injury Prevention-Mental Health Promotion Branch of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and member of the Colorado Infant Safe Sleep Partnership. “This will make it easier for all consumers to buy, use and give infant sleep products as gifts. Today, many people are unknowingly buying products known to be unsafe for an infant to sleep.” 

The lack of regulation of infant sleep products and the abundance of unsafe sleep objects and devices manufactured and sold throughout the United States has frustrated advocates, health care professionals and parents who have lost children, alike, for years. Dr. Sunah S. Hwang, the Lula O. Lubchenco Chair in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Perinatal Health Services Research with the University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics Section of Neonatology, highlighted the need for action by the Commission in The Call to Translate Data Into Action to Prevent Infant Death published just last month. Stating “[a]lthough states such as Ohio, Maryland, and New York have banned
the sale of unsafe items such as crib bumpers, these soft bedding objects continue to be manufactured,
marketed, and sold. The Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously in 2020 to proceed with developing a federal safety rule that would ban the sale of crib bumpers that limit airflow. We eagerly await
the results of the federal rulemaking process.” Hwang highlighted the fact that

of SUID cases categorized as “explained” or “unexplained–possible suffocation,” 74% of airway obstructions were due to soft bedding. In short, 1145 infants may have survived their first year of life had soft bedding not been used during their sleep.”

Later this year, the Commission expects to consider federal safety standards for crib bumpers and crib mattresses. CPSC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have long warned of the dangers of bed-sharing or co-sleeping. The new rule does not take any action against bed-sharing without sleep products. Instead, it shifts responsibility to manufacturers to assist parents who want to bed-share, by requiring them to produce only products that are safe to do so. The new rule also does not extend to items that are expressly not intended or marketed for infant sleep, such as swings and car seats.

 

As a reminder, the safest place for a baby to sleep is a flat, bare surface dedicated to the infant. The Colorado Infant Safe Sleep Partnership is actively recruiting members interested in getting involved to support families, providers, organizations and policymakers to increase infant safe sleep practices and address related barriers and disparities, through education, practice change and systems improvement. 

Early Childhood Council of the San Luis Valley Hiring Early Childhood Lead Teachers in Partnership With Illuminate Colorado

Early Childhood Council of the San Luis Valley Hiring Early Childhood Lead Teachers in Partnership With Illuminate Colorado

Early Childhood Council of the San Luis Valley is partnering with Illuminate Colorado to bring Illuminating Child Care to the San Luis Valley and is seeking two Early Childhood Lead Teachers for our mobile child care classroom serving infants and toddlers onsite where parents are getting the support that they need to strengthen their families.

Position Overview:

The Early Childhood Lead Teachers will be hired to plan, organize, implement, and deliver an infant and toddler program curriculum to enrolled children’s individual and group’s educational, intellectual, physical, social, and emotional needs. 

These positions will manage a mobile child care classroom for children whose parents are working to address complex issues impacting their family, like mental health concerns, substance use disorders, or employment challenges; and ensure that the mobile classroom remains in compliance with the State of Colorado Child Care Licensing standards.

Position performs classroom, administrative, mobile unit management duties to support the mobile child care classrooms. Early Childhood Lead Teachers must have flexibility to work a schedule including evenings and weekends. Salary Range: $40,000 – $43,000 (based on education & relevant experience), IRA Contribution up to 3% Match, No Health Benefit available at this time. Anticipated start date June 1, 2021. 

View the full job description here.

To apply: Please submit a resume & letter of interest via email to outreach@eccslv.org.

Tax Credits are Powerful Tools to Strengthen Families

Tax Credits are Powerful Tools to Strengthen Families

Policies that strengthen family financial security can go a long way toward reducing childhood adversity and enhancing the relationships that help children thrive. When families face financial hardship, it sets the stage for additional stress. Boosting family incomes through tax credits can relieve the pressure, helping to head off childhood adversity before it happens. Illuminate Colorado is proud to be a member of a statewide coalition working to update our state tax code and advance policies to boost family economic security. 

To further bolster pandemic recovery, state legislators are currently considering a package of legislation designed to make our tax code fairer for families and workers by closing loopholes that benefit a small number of wealthy people and big corporations. HB21-1311 and HB21-1312, introduced last week, will invest in tax credits for working families and small businesses. HB21-1311 includes provisions to expand the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and finally fund the Colorado Child Tax Credit (CTC), boosting incomes for families in ways that are proven to reduce poverty. 

 

The EITC and CTC are known to improve the health and well-being of families who receive them, and can even help kids do better in school and lead healthier, longer lives. Children living in poverty are significantly more likely to be reported to the child welfare system and are overrepresented in foster care.

According to a 2020 study analyzing 16 years of recent data, states with a refundable EITC, compared to states without, experienced an 11% reduction in foster care entry rates. If states without a current EITC implemented a refundable EITC, they are estimated to save more than $19 million per year in foster care costs. Putting that data into context, expanding Colorado’s EITC and funding the CTC are approaches to a more racially equitable tax code and child welfare system. Due to historical racism and ongoing discrimination and bias, on average, people of color have less wealth and income. Furthermore, children of color are overrepresented in Colorado’s child welfare system. 

Simply put, money allows parents to meet their children’s basic needs for food, housing, health care, and other essentials. HB21-1311 will offset these costs, as well as the cost of child care, for working parents. High-quality child care reduces parental stress and isolation. In another study, it was found that EITC reduces physical child abuse. Abusive head trauma, formerly known as shaken baby syndrome, is one of the leading causes of fatal physical child abuse in the U.S. The study reviewed nonfatal abusive head trauma hospital admission rates from 27 states across 18 years and revealed that states with a refundable EITC had 13% fewer abusive head trauma admissions than states without a refundable EITC. This reduction was likely due to decreased parental stress.

When families have access to meet their basic needs, we strengthen the foundations of families and communities. HB21-1311 is a critical and effective investment in preventing child maltreatment, increasing equity, and creating the conditions in which children and families thrive. 

HB21-1311 passed both the House Finance and Appropriations committees and is working its way through the House chamber. Thank you to our hardworking partners at Colorado Fiscal Institute and Bell Policy Center for leading these advocacy efforts. 

Review the 2021 Policy Agenda

Download the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda.

Use the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on the progression of bills this session related to strengthening families.

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Child Abuse Prevention Month Recap: Over 40,000 Pinwheels Distributed!

Child Abuse Prevention Month Recap: Over 40,000 Pinwheels Distributed!

Leading into April, Illuminate Colorado called on Coloradans to claim their FREE pinwheels and plant them in their front yards and neighborhoods as part of a national movement to recognize the importance of community-based support for all children and families during National Child Abuse Prevention Month this April, and all year-long. We ended up surpassing our goal, giving away over 40,000 free Pinwheels for Prevention® to inspire Coloradans to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together.

Throughout the month of April, Illuminate and other Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA) chapters, as well as local supporters in more than 100 cities in Colorado, planted pinwheels and used a community garden metaphor to reinforce the message that “every day, we help positive childhood experiences take root.”

“We can build healthier, safer and thriving communities if we take the same approach to raising families that we do to tending a community garden on a shared piece of land. Just like a plant is more likely to thrive in a garden with good soil and plenty of sunlight and water, families are more likely to thrive in nurturing communities,” said Jade Woodard, executive director of Illuminate Colorado.

Planting a pinwheel represents the bright childhoods we all want for children and the goal was that, with over 40,000 pinwheels planted in front yards and neighborhoods throughout the state, more people would know how to plant the seeds for all children to grow up happy and healthy.

The following are some of the highlights from the month:

  • April 1 was Wear Blue Day, a day to show support for positive childhood experiences. Photos and videos were posted on social media and included #WearBlueDay2021. We also joined together withGovernor Jared Polis for the virtual launch of National Child Abuse Prevention Month in Colorado.
  • The Colorado State House of Representatives recognized April 1st as the first day of Child Abuse Prevention Month and paid tribute to the work happening in Colorado to prevent child abuse.
  • Ten state legislators recorded videos showing their support for children and families and encouraged others to get involved in Child Abuse Prevention Month.
  • We distributed 62,160,600 messages through earned media, paid media and organic social media during the month of April that promoted prevention and reached 81,405 Coloradans.
  • Through the #GrowingBetterTogether Photo Contest, community members submitted pinwheels photos for a chance to win a grant for their favoriteColorado nonprofit serving children and families! Photos with the most votes won the opportunity to select a Colorado nonprofit serving children and families to receive grants of $1,000, $300 and $200.
  • A FREE two-hour interactive virtual introductory course to learn how to “bring the protective factors to life” at home, work and in your community was offered twice during April. Ten Colorado counties were represented in the trainings!
  • April 8 was World Day for Prevention and Healing from Child Sexual Abuse, a day when we talked about how every survivor and their loved ones need access to services for healing and resilience. Together, we can reach a tipping point inColorado where children grow up happy, healthy and safe in communities that prevent children from experiencing sexual abuse. If enough adults in a community take a FREE two-hour interactive online training then, together, we can create a new standard of child safety in your community and throughout Colorado. Visit TipColorado.org  to help your county reach the tipping point.
  • We joined PCAA and sorority partners at Kappa Delta and Sigma Delta Tau for Digital Advocacy Day, where community members were encouraged to contact their elected officials and spread the word about policy change that’s vital to the well-being of children and their families. You can still visit IlluminateColorado.org/2021policy for a guide to what policies and legislation in Colorado build protective factors.
  • Throughout the month, our communities used the hashtag#GrowingBetterTogether to connect to the movement, finding ways to get involved and signify their commitment to helping children, families and entire communities to thrive.

Thank you so much, Colorado, for helping us spread awareness about child abuse prevention throughout the month of April. We couldn’t have done it without you and we look forward to continuing the work of strengthening families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment throughout the rest of the year with you!

Illuminate Colorado Is Hiring Two New Associates

Illuminate Colorado Is Hiring Two New Associates

We are excited to announce that we are hiring two new associate positions!

Communications and Education Associate (Position Filled)

Under the guidance of the Communications Manager, this position will work with our entire organization and community members from all over the state to manage first impressions for our organization, seamlessly connect people interested in the prevention of child maltreatment and integrate our systems building brighter childhoods. The Communications & Education Associate will help implement the strategic communications plan to achieve high quality communications and increase brand awareness for Illuminate Colorado. The individual should be detail-oriented, able to meet tight deadlines, flexible, and experienced with supporting an organization’s internal and external communication to a variety of audiences via websites, email, social media, print and events. The ideal candidate will be able to create and edit quality content, able to clearly and effectively communicate in writing and orally and have strong administrative and organizational skills. He/She/They will provide support with project management, social media, events, PR, administrative tasks, and other duties as assigned.

Qualifications / Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or a related field and a minimum of one to three years of predominantly external communications experience. Equivalent combinations of experience/education will be considered. Excellent verbal and written communications skills in Spanish preferred.

Compensation: This is a full-time position eligible for benefits. Starting salary is negotiable and commensurate with skills and experience in the range of $40,000 – $50,000.

If this sounds like an exciting opportunity to you, click on the link below for more details about the position. The deadline to apply is May 12.

View the complete job posting here.

To Apply: Please submit a cover letter, resume, and three references via email with “Communications and Education Associate” in the subject line to hiring@illuminatecolorado.org.

Operations Associate

Under the guidance of the Director of Operations, this position will support the business and operational functions of the organization, including finance, human resources, and administrative responsibilities. The Operations Associate will help manage monthly and ongoing administrative and financial processes and procedures including managing the fundraising platforms, as well as help support employee hiring, onboarding/offboarding, recognition, and benefit management. The individual should possess strong detail-orientation, flexibility, and customer service skills, with a proactive and process oriented work style.

Qualifications / Requirements: At least two years of related experience with finance, human resources, administrative and/or office support required, preferably with a nonprofit organization. Equivalent combinations of education and experience will be considered.

Compensation: This is a part-time position (24 hour per week) eligible for benefits. Starting salary is negotiable and commensurate with skills and experience in the range of $24,000 – $30,000 (equivalent of $19 to $24 per hour).

If this sounds like an exciting opportunity to you, click on the link below for more details about the position. The deadline to apply is June 21.

View the complete job posting here.

To Apply: Please submit a cover letter, resume, and three references via email with “Operations Associate” in the subject line to hiring@illuminatecolorado.org.

Safe Storage Means Safer Kids

Safe Storage Means Safer Kids

Safe and proper storage of firearms can contribute to a safe home environment for all members of a family. The Colorado Child Fatality Prevention System specifically recommended in 2018 to raise awareness and provide education to child welfare providers and community agencies on safe firearm storage to prevent child deaths involving firearms. This is crucial as more than 75% of the guns used in youth suicide attempts and unintentional injuries were stored in the residence of the victim, a relative, or a friend. Stronger safe storage laws promote a safer environment for all children to thrive, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic given the increased time spent at home paired with increased mental health stressors among youth.

House Bill 21-1106 Safe Storage Of Firearms was signed by Governor Polis on April 19th, 2021. This bill requires that firearms be responsibly and securely stored when they are not in use to prevent access by unsupervised youth and other unauthorized users. The bill further supports and ensures safe storage by requiring that at the time of a firearm sale or transfer, licensed gun dealers must provide a locking device capable of securing the firearm. Thank you to partners at the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Academy of Family Physicians, Colorado Children’s Campaign, Colorado Nurses Association, Mental Health Colorado, Violence Free Colorado, and more for supporting this important bill. Thank you to Representatives Duran and Mullica and Senators Bridges and Hansen for your leadership and sponsorship of HB21-1106. 

Visit SmartChoicesSafeKids.org to get more information to guide us all through the choices we have to make at every age and stage of life to keep kids safe.  

Review the 2021 Policy Agenda

Download the 2021 Illuminating Policy Agenda and use the Illuminate Colorado Bill Tracker to stay up to date on the progression of bills this session related to strengthening families.

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