Prevention: Myths & Facts

FACT: 2-1-1 is an easy to remember telephone number that connects people with important community social & human services.

  • If you need help, you can call 2-1-1 from your phone. You may also visit the United Way of Central Florida’s website to obtain a 211 Quick Guide to Community Resources that is available to help families identify community resources and services in their county. In addition, you may visit http://heartland.auntbertha.com for up-to-date, local resources; searchable by zip code.

FACT: April is nationally recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

  • Pinwheels for Prevention® is a national campaign for child abuse prevention, that uses a simple child’s toy to remind us that we all play an important role in children’s lives. During the month of April, numerous agencies and child advocates have come together to help implement this campaign locally. The focus is on community activities and public policies that prioritize healthy child development so abuse and neglect never begins.

MYTH: Domestic Violence is only a female problem.

  • FACT: Men can also be victims of abuse; some ways include name calling, throwing objects, and excessive texting or being checked up on in some manner.

MYTH: Families are required to pay a fee for Prevention services.

  • FACT: Prevention services are voluntary and are available to families with children residing in the home. There is no fee to speak to a Prevention Specialist who will assist with linking you to resources and supports in the community to help stabilize and strengthen your family.

MYTH: Infant massage can only be used on healthy infants.

  • FACT: Infant Massage is a great way to bond with your baby and one of the most natural and pleasant methods of providing early nurturing contact as you begin a lifelong relationship. Infant massage is adaptable to use for preemies, infants with special medical needs as well as growing toddlers.

FACT: Infant massage provides physical, psychological, neurological, & physiological health benefits for both caregiver & baby.

  • Through infant massage, parents/caregivers will learn how their infants communicate, creating a better bonding or closeness to the infant. Parents/caregivers can gain confidence in parenting skills through this bonding. Infant massage also helps parents/caregivers to relax and spend quality time with their infant and also facilitates a time for fathers to interact with their infant.

MYTH: It is illegal to spank your children.

  • FACT: Although spanking itself is not illegal (unless physical injury results), most parents in the US are choosing not to spank. Research shows that the long term negative effects of spanking can be detrimental to a child’s well-being. When parents identify positive parenting skills and techniques that are effective with their children, the long term benefits for both the child and parent are evident.

MYTH: It is safe to let your baby sleep on an adult bed, air mattress, beanbag, reclining chair, sofa, water bed, or other furniture as long as you check on them often.

  • FACT: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby less than one year old. This is very scary for parents, but there are simple things you can do to lower the risk of infant death. Some parents believe sleeping with their baby will protect the baby from SIDS, but sleeping with a baby is dangerous and actually raises the risk of infant death. The safest place for an infant to sleep is alone in a crib, in the parents’ room, for the first six months of life.

MYTH: It’s okay to have my child sit in the front seat.

  • FACT: The safest way for children to ride in a motor vehicle is for them to sit in the back seat in a child safety seat/booster until they reach the upper weight and height limit of the seat/booster. Once they outgrow the child restraint, a child should ride in a booster seat until they are 4’9" tall and weigh 80 to 100 pounds.

FACT: Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children in children ages 1 - 12.

  • When used correctly, a child restraint increases the chance of surviving a bad wreck to 71%. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a rear facing child restraint to age 2 or to the upper weight and height limits of the car seat. Once they outgrow their child restraint, a child should ride in a booster seat until they are 4’9" tall and weigh 80 to 100 pounds.

MYTH: My child is too young for me to worry about talking about domestic violence.

  • FACT: More than half (50%) of 1,004 teens age 13 to 18 surveyed recently reported they have been in a dating relationship, and nearly a third (32%) reported being in a serious dating relationship. Polls clearly indicate that education about domestic violence is not only needed but can help save lives since 7 out of 10 (69%) will take some action when they are able to recognize domestic violence. It is never too early to teach children what healthy relationships look like. Qualities of a Healthy relationship include mutual respect, open communication, support, the ability of each partner to "be themselves" around one another, and the ability for both partners to have fun together.

MYTH: Only families with problems need resources & support.

  • FACT: Parenting is one of the toughest and most important jobs. Family support programs such as parent education, home visitation, respite care and support groups help parents develop parenting skills, learn and understand the benefits of positive discipline techniques, and meet their children’s needs.

MYTH: Only mothers should massage their babies.

  • FACT: It is encouraged that all caregivers, parents or grandparents learn to massage their babies. Massage is a great way for fathers/male caregivers to bond with their infants.

FACT: Parents & other caregivers who have resources & support are more likely to provide safe & healthy homes for their children.

  • Parenting is one of the toughest and most important jobs. As a community, we all have a stake in ensuring that parents have access to the tools and support they need to be successful. Research validates that parents and other caregivers who have resources and support are more likely to provide safe and healthy homes for their children.

FACT: Prevention assistance helps to connect families to local resources & supports available in Polk, Highlands & Hardee counties.

  • Through Prevention services, many families are able to find the strength and resources they need to raise safe, healthy and productive children. Family support programs such as parent education, home visitation, respite care and support groups help parents develop parenting skills, learn and understand the benefits of positive discipline techniques, and meet their children’s needs. Support programs can also offer assistance with additional challenges facing families, such as adequate housing and affordable childcare.

FACT: The pinwheel is the national symbol for April’s Child Abuse Prevention awareness campaign.

  • The pinwheel represents the need to prioritize children in our community and is part of the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign. Florida takes part in this national campaign by promoting a better understanding of child development, providing tools for positive parenting and promoting individual and community action.