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Safer By 4 Campaign Hopes To Reduce Preventable Child Deaths

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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Having children reach their 4th birthday—that's the goal of the #SaferBy4 campaign being rolled out across Broward County Monday.

The Department of Children and Families, law enforcement, first responders and community leaders are joining together in an effort to reduce preventable child deaths.

"Our hope today is we will all begin working together with hashtag 'Safer by 4' initiative and build best practices to save lives each day every year," said Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan.

Cindy Seltzer, CEO Children's Services Council of Broward County, tweeted Monday morning, "Everyone needs to partner in promoting safe sleep. Alone on their back in a crib," followed by the #SaferBy4 hashtag.

According to DCF, nearly half of the children who died in Broward last year lost their lives because of drowning and unsafe sleep practices.

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"We find that most children die because they've been placed in unsafe sleep environment—sleeping with an adult of another child, or children very young who find their way to a body of water and drown," said Kim Gorsuch with DCF.

In Deerfield last year, 2-year-old twins lost their lives in a community pool. In Sunrise, toddler twins were pulled from the water not breathing.

Already in 2015, there was a near-drowning in Oakland Park where a 3-year-old was pulled from a pool after slipping through the gate.

Michelle Reese, executive director of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County, hopes the message of the initiative will spread.

"We need to get the word out to our families, our grandparents, our siblings. We need the community's support. Today's initiative is in an effort to gain information and to work together with city leaders, stakeholders, so that we can start bringing this information back to our communities," said Reese.

The Safer by 4 campaign is designed to give cities additional tools and no-cost ways to get important information to residents—simple yet potentially life-saving tools like free swimming lessons.

"We can help prevent deaths in our communities," said Mayor Ryan.

The campaign, with the #Saferby4 hashtag, is hoping social media can help get the word out. They're encouraging people to take to social media using the hashtag to share safety tips and experiences.

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