Jacksonville Day Cares, Parents Upset By Florida's New 'Safe Sleep' Rules

Mar 8, 2018

State-mandated changes in safe sleep practices for infants in licensed Florida day care centers are irking Jacksonville caregivers and parents alike.

The new rules issued by the Florida Department of Children and Families are based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to reduce the risk of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Child care providers are also now required to attend safe-sleep training as part of their licensing, according to a representative for DCF's training division. 

Among the new rules are that babies in cribs are no longer allowed to sleep with blankets or other soft comfort items.

Nancy Dreicer, CEO of Jacksonville’s Chappell Schools chain, said, “Our parents are concerned, and I’ve heard from many of them because, as you know, if you have an infant and they have a blankie, they want their blankie.”

Dreicer said a particularly difficult new rule is that pacifiers attached to an infant by a pacifier clip with a cord are now forbidden. Pacifier clips used to be among the school’s required items for parents of infants to provide when sending children to daycare at the school’s eight centers.

“I think the odds of somebody getting sick from a pacifier are probably higher than somebody choking with those little cords,” Dreicer said, adding that staff will be cleaning any pacifiers that do drop on the floor.

Dreicer sent a letter to parents, urging them to write letters to newspaper editors and to contact the governor’s office to oppose the changes. 

A DCF training representative said the rule changes came straight from her agency, not from the Legislature. 

Contact Cyd Hoskinson at choskinson@wjct.org or 904-358-6351.