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If you would like to schedule a Florida Healthy Babies presentation or request other materials, click here.

Florida Healthy Babies is a statewide initiative to give all babies an equal chance at a happy, healthy life. Community partners with Okaloosa's Florida Healthy Babies initiative created the Recipe for a Healthy Baby as an easy way to remember how to keep babies safe and healthy.

The four focus areas of the Recipe for a Healthy Baby are:

  • Breastfeed Your Baby
  • Safe Sleep for Baby
  • Never Shake a Baby
  • Quit for Baby

Breastfeed Your Baby

Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do to protect your baby's health. Benefits for mom and baby include:

  • More sleep
  • Close bonding
  • Improves health and nutrition
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Fewer illnesses
  • It's FREE

Recent research shows that if 90% of families in the United States breastfed exclusively for 6 months, nearly 1,000 infant deaths could be prevented.

Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
850-833-9254 or 850-689-7858

WIC is a nutrition program for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or who have recently been pregnant. WIC offers:

  • Breastfeeding classes
  • Certified Breastfeeding Counselors
  • After-hours support provided through the peer breastfeeding couseling program
  • Breast Pump Loan Program


Safe Sleep For Baby

Safe sleep for your baby is as easy as ABC:

Alone – Babies should never sleep in the same bed as adults. Only bring your baby into your bed to feed or comfort.

Back– Place your baby on their back dressed in a one piece sleeper.

Crib – Do not place toys, pillows, blankets, bumpers, or other objects in the crib, bassinet, or play yard.

Nearly 1/3 of all infant deaths from 2009-2015 in Okaloosa County were sleep-related.

Nationally, more than 3,500 babies die unexpectedly every year while sleeping.This is often due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), suffocation or strangulation. Suffocation is the leading cause of accidental death for infants in Okaloosa County.



Never Shake A Baby

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) can occur when a parent or caregiver shakes a baby or toddler due to frustration or anger.

Shaking a baby can cause bruising, swelling, and bleading to the baby's brain. This could lead to permanent damage, disability or even death.

Your child depends on you to keep them safe. Here are some ways to keep your child safe:

  • Make sure all caregivers know to never shake a baby.
  • Know your limits. If you get angry at your child, be sure the baby is safe and then walk away.
  • Count to 10 and call a friend. Seek help and support.

10% of infant deaths in Okaloosa County from 2009-2015 were a result of trauma or abuse by a parent or caregiver.

Childrenhelp® National Abuse Hotline
1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)

Quit Smoking For Your Baby

Quitting tobacco is the most important thing you can do for your health and your baby's health. Smoking during pregnancy and after delivery can increase your child's chances of:

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Ear infections
  • Asthma
  • Behavioral problems
  • Childhood cancers

Thirdhand smoke is when harmful chemicals from tobacco build up on skin, hair, furniture, walls, bedding, and carpet. Children can then become sick by touching, inhaling, or ingesting the chemicals. The only way to protect children from thirdhand smoke is to create a smoke-free environment.

Pregnant women in Okaloosa County are almost twice as likely to smoke than all other pregnant women in Florida

West Florida Area Health Education Center


  • Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County
  • Healthy Start Coalition of Okaloosa & Walton Counties
  • Chautauqua Healthcare Services (previously the COPE Center)
  • Childrens Home Society
  • Fort Walton Beach Medical Center
  • North Okaloosa Medical Center
  • Twin Cities Hospital
  • S4P Synergy, Inc.
  • West Florida Area Health Education Center


Healthy Start Community Coalition of Okaloosa-Walton Counties, Inc.
102 Beal Parkway SW | Fort Walton Beach, FL  32548
(850) 833-9284  |  Fax (850) 833-9484 

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