Monday, May 1, 2017

YCPO - May 2017


SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.

More than 2,000 babies died of SIDS in 2010, the last year for which such statistics are available.

Most SIDS deaths occur when in babies between 1 month and 4 months of age, and the majority (90%) of SIDS deaths occur before a baby reaches 6 months of age. However SIDS deaths can occur anytime during a baby's first year.

SIDS is a sudden and silent medical disorder that can happen to an infant who 

Slightly more boys die of SIDS than do girls.

In the past, the number of SIDS deaths seemed to increase during the colder months of the year. But today, the numbers are more evenly spread throughout the calendar year.

SIDS rates for the United States have dropped steadily since 1994 in all racial and ethnic groups. Thousands of infant lives have been saved, but some ethnic groups are still at higher risk for SIDS.

Information provided by the Mayo Clinic

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old. SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs.
Although the cause is unknown, it appears that SIDS may be associated with abnormalities in the portion of an infant's brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep.

Researchers have discovered some factors that may put babies at extra risk. They've also identified some measures you can take to help protect your child from SIDS. Perhaps the most important measure is placing your baby on his or her back to sleep.


A combination of physical and sleep environmental factors can make an infant more vulnerable to SIDS. These factors may vary from child to child.
Physical factors
Physical factors associated with SIDS include:
   •    Brain abnormalities. Some infants are born with problems that make them more likely to die of SIDS. In many of these babies, the portion of the brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep isn't yet mature enough to work properly.
   •    Low birth weight. Premature birth or being part of a multiple birth increases the likelihood that a baby's brain hasn't matured completely, so he or she has less control over such automatic processes as breathing and heart rate.
   •    Respiratory infection.  Many infants who died of SIDS had recently had a cold, which may contribute to breathing problems.

Sleep environmental factors
The items in a baby's crib and his or her sleeping position can combine with a baby's physical problems to increase the risk of SIDS. Examples include:
   •    Sleeping on the stomach or side. Babies who are placed on their stomachs or sides to sleep may have more difficulty breathing than those placed on their backs.
   •    Sleeping on a soft surface. Lying face down on a fluffy comforter or a waterbed can block an infant's airway. Draping a blanket over a baby's head also is risky.
   •    Sleeping with parents. While the risk of SIDS is lowered if an infant sleeps in the same room as his or her parents, the risk increases if the baby sleeps in the same bed — partly because there are more soft surfaces to impair breathing.
Risk factors

Although sudden infant death syndrome can strike any infant, researchers have identified several factors that may increase a baby's risk. They include:
   •    Sex. Boys are more likely to die of SIDS.
   •    Age. Infants are most vulnerable during the second and third months of life.
   •    Race. For reasons that aren't well-understood, black, American Indian or Alaska Native infants are more likely to develop SIDS.
   •    Family history. Babies who've had siblings or cousins die of SIDS are at higher risk of SIDS.
   •    Secondhand smoke. Babies who live with smokers have a higher risk of SIDS.
   •    Being premature. Both being born early and having low birth weight increase your baby's chances of SIDS.

Maternal risk factors
During pregnancy, the risk of SIDS is also affected by the mother, especially if she:
   •    Is younger than 20
   •    Smokes cigarettes
   •    Uses drugs or alcohol
   •    Has inadequate prenatal care
   •    Educate the public  by distributing this information at Health Faits, Pediatrician'sOffices, OB/GYN Offices, Urgent Care Facilities,  Day Care Providers etc. 
   •    Attached to this email is a brochure from Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute,  Boston, MA. which can be reproduced and distributed.

The following is an online website where new parents/caregivers can sign up for educational
information and a baby box to help prevent SIDS:

Young Children Priority One (Y.C.P.O.) District Chair
New England and Bermuda District

Saturday, April 8, 2017

YCPO - April 2017

APRIL 2017 

Good Morning fellow Kiwanians!

Fact: An estimated 905,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect in one year in the United States.
(YCPO bulletin "Prevention of Child Abuse”)

Fact: In 80% of child abuse and neglect cases, the alleged abusers are overwhelmed, stressed parents who took their frustrations out on their own children; in other cases child abuse results because some parents were abused as children and never learned how to be a good parent. 
(YCPO bulletin "Parents Anonymous”)

Fact: A child from a low-income family enters kindergarten with a listening vocabulary of 3,000 words, while a child from a high-income family enters with a listening vocabulary of 20,000 words.
(YCPO bulletin "Reading is Fundamental”)

In the United States, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. A Kiwanis club could assist lo-cal events for Child Abuse Prevention Month in a variety of ways: 
Recognition event. Hold a luncheon, dinner, award ceremony or other event to publicly thank child protection workers, foster parents, a media personality or others who have made a significant contribution to preventing child abuse.
• Publicity. Send press releases to local radio and television stations.
• Proclamation. Work with the sponsoring organization to have government leaders issue 
proclamations supporting Child Abuse Prevention Month.

• Church events. Contact places of worship and propose that they set aside a weekend to 
celebrate children and families. Suggest a sermon or discussion on disciplining without shouting or spanking, reaching out to parents having difficulty with their children or the im-portance of positive parenting for physical, emotional and spiritual good health. 
• Blue ribbon campaign. Urge everyone in the community to wear a blue ribbon during April, to show that they know child abuse is an important problem. If appropriate, make the wearing of the blue ribbon a reminder of a child in the community who died from child abuse during the past year. 
• Kids day. Organize a “Kids for Kids” parade dedicated to children featuring children. 


One of the best ways for a Kiwanis club to effect change in child abuse situations is to work with or-ganizations already addressing the problem. In many countries there is a group dedicated to prevent-ing child abuse through public education, such as UNICEF and the International Society for Preven-tion of Child Abuse and Neglect. The United States is fortunate to have chapters of Prevent Child Abuse America in most areas. Using their website,, you can find your local chapter. 

Most child abuse prevention organizations have public awareness materials that they will share with Kiwanis clubs. Rather than starting from scratch, clubs should seek out these organizations and ask permission to use printed and video public service announcements, radio spots or art for fliers and brochures. Some also offer “op-ed” pieces that can be submitted to newspapers 

The YCPO bulletin “Prevention of Child Abuse” has much more detailed information on how Kiwanis Clubs can get involved in the prevention of child abuse. You will find a sample press release, a sam-ple flier on “Messy Fun Day”, a sample flyer on “Winning Ways With Children When Eating Out” which can be distributed to day care centers etc., and a sample shopping bag stuffer on “What to do in the grocery store to help kids behave” (which can be distributed at grocery stores), and “What to say or do when parents abuse their children in public”. I encourage you to check out this bulletin and possibly do a new YCPO project (big or small) on the prevention of child abuse. for the bulletin.  The “Prevention of Child Abuse” Bulletin is an attach-ment to this email.

Below are two additional websites providing current information on child abuse infor-mation: and

This information was sent by former Kiwanis International President Wil Blechman, current President of the Young Children Priority One Advisory Committee.

 "approximately 1500 of these abused children die annually. Worse, yet, is the torture some of these children undergo prior to death.

Another point to be made, which I don't believe is in the Kiwanis newsletter, is that in the U.S., more than three million reports are actually called in to the various state investigating agencies. While less than a million of these are confirmed, there is little question in the minds of experts in the field that there are likely a significant number which couldn't be proven but still actually occurred. Furthermore, what reinforces this as a Kiwanis Young Children: Priority One issue in the percentage of child abuse deaths that occur before the age of five.

The information you have provided, as well as that which I've added as additional resources, suggest how much society pays in the future because of what we don't do to prevent problems early in life. Money is wasted because we have adults who can't function normally as a result of childhood abuse and end up in poor health, unable to learn, in jail or simply in situations where they take from society in the form of whatever safety nets are available rather than being able to provide positively to society.”

I hope your Club will consider doing a YCPO project to help prevent Child Abuse. Every child deserves to be born into a world knowing and expecting warmth, love, nourishment and security. And isn't this what Ki-wanis is all about?

Ava Adams, District Chair 2016-17
Early Childhood Development/Y.C.P.O.
Scarborough, Maine
New England and Bermuda District!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

YCPO - March 2017

(information provided by Mayo Clinic)

It is estimated that 1,000-3,000 children in the United States suffer from SBS each year.*
One fourth of victims of SBS die, and 80 percent of survivors suffer from permanent damage.*
In the United States, the costs of hospitalization and continuing care for SBS victims can total 1.2 to 1.6 billion dollars each year.*
Some estimate that up to half of infant deaths caused by child abuse are due to shaken baby syndrome.*
Shaken Baby Syndrome and its resultant injuries can occur within seconds of a child be shaken violently.*

Shaken baby syndrome — also known as abusive head trauma, shaken impact syndrome, inflicted head injury or whiplash shake syndrome — is a serious brain injury resulting from forcefully shaking an infant or toddler.
Shaken baby syndrome destroys a child's brain cells and prevents his or her brain from getting enough oxygen. Shaken baby syndrome is a form of child abuse that can result in permanent brain damage or death.

Shaken baby syndrome is preventable. Help is available for parents who are at risk of harming a child. Parents also can educate other caregivers about the dangers of shaken baby syndrome.

Shaken baby syndrome symptoms and signs include:
Extreme irritability
Difficulty staying awake
Breathing problems
Poor eating
Pale or bluish skin

Other injuries that may not be initially noticeable include bleeding in the brain and eye, damage to the spinal cord and neck and fractures of the ribs, skull and bones. Evidence of prior child abuse also is common.
In mild cases of shaken baby syndrome, a child may appear normal after being shaken, but over time he or she may develop health, learning or behavior prob-lems.

When to see a doctor
Seek immediate help if you suspect your child has been injured by violent shaking.
Contact your child's doctor or take your child to the nearest emergency room. Get-ting medical care right away may save your child's life or prevent serious health problems.
Health care professionals are legally required to report all suspected cases of child abuse to state authorities.

Babies have weak neck muscles and often struggle to support their heavy heads. If a baby is forcefully shaken, his or her fragile brain moves back and forth inside the skull. This causes bruising, swelling and bleeding.
Shaken baby syndrome usually occurs when a parent or caregiver severely shakes a baby or toddler due to frustration or anger — often because the child won't stop crying.

Shaken baby syndrome isn't usually caused by bouncing a child on your knee, mi-nor falls or even rough play.

For parents and other caregivers, factors that may increase the risk of inflicting shaken baby syndrome include:
Unrealistic expectations of babies
Young or single parenthood
Domestic violence
Alcohol or substance abuse
Unstable family situations
A history of mistreatment as a child

Also, men are more likely to inflict shaken baby syndrome than are women.

Just a few seconds of shaking an infant can cause irreversible brain damage. Many children affected by shaken baby syndrome die.
Survivors of shaken baby syndrome may require lifelong medical care for condi-tions such as:
Partial or total blindness
Hearing loss
Developmental delays, learning problems or behavior issues
Mental retardation
Seizure disorders
Cerebral palsy


Educate the public by distributing this information at Health Faits, Pediatrician’s Offices, OB/GYN Offices, Urgent Care Facilities, Day Caare providers etc.

Also attached in this email is a pdf brochure from Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute, Bost, MA/ and a pdf from
Kiwanis International called “All Babies Cry”. Both attach-ments can be reproduced and distributed.

Ava Adams
Young Children Priority One, District Chair
New Egland and Bermuda District

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

YCPO - February 2017



            NEW ENGLAND AND BERMUDA DISTRICT                                               February 2017

Good Morning fellow Kiwanians!

Fact: Sensitive interactions with adults do more to promote brain development than any toy CD or DVD. Preschools should deliver services that enable adults to have rich interactions with children.(Connecting Neutrons, Concepts and People, Brain Development and Its Implications;NIEER pamphlet, PEW Foundation)

Fact: The first five years of life are the most important for learning and developing skills; it is extremely important that high quality day care be available.("Child Care" pamphlet; Y.C.P.O. Kiwanis International)

Fact: Early care has a decisive and long-lasting impact on how people develop, their ability to learn, and their capacity to regulate their emotions.("Brain Development" booklet, Y.C.P.O. Kiwanis International)
This month I will focus on the second area of Y.C.P.O:

 A human being learns more in the first six years than during any other time in his or her life. But children can’t learn in a vacuum. They need people to talk and listen to, books to admire and enjoy, opportunities to explore, a safe sanctuary and warm hugs and toys. Children deserve such an environment, but for many, such opportunities are not available or affordable. Kiwanis clubs can help change that. In the United States, more than 10 million children under the age of 6 have their only parent or both parents in the labor force. In fact, only seven percent of families have the traditional” structure, with a stay-at-home parent who takes care of the children while the other parent is the breadwinner. Today, child care is a necessity for parents and for the businesses that employ them. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of high quality child-care providers, and no coherent system exists that solves this problem. Kiwanis clubs can be part of the solution on the local level. 

What can Kiwanians do? 
  Get involved and help support the following programs: 
Health programs that emphasize early identification of health problems. Medical, dental, vision and mental health services. Parent-involvement programs that help educate parents about their children’s needs and about good parenting skills, as well as involve them in everything from playtime to policy making. Parent training in the recognition of the signs and symptoms of child abuse, neglect, exploitation, shaken baby syndrome and failure to thrive. Awareness of and assistance in obtaining social services from local agencies is crucial because the more support these parents receive, the more time and attention they can devote to the needs of their children at this critical stage. Awareness of services for special needs children that meet the needs of  children with mental retardation, health, hearing, speech or language impairments, visual handicaps, emotional disturbances, learning disabilities and orthopedic handicaps.

The Head Start program provides grants to local public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families, with a special focus on helping preschoolers develop the early reading and math skills they need to be successful in school. In FY 1995, the Early Head Start program was established to serve children from birth to three years of age in recognition of the mounting evidence that the earliest years matter a great deal to children's growth and development.

  Head Start programs promote school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families. They engage parents in their children's learning and help them in making progress toward their educational, literacy and employment goals. Significant emphasis is placed on the involvement of parents in the administration of local Head Start programs.


  Work with children 
Members can provide enrichment activities in areas where they visit schools  and tell students about particular careers  or hobbies. Explain what it’s like to be a dentist, firefighter, soldier or secretary, or a stamp collector, gardener or service-club volunteer. Sharing hobbies is another good way to involve Service Leadership club members. Keep your presentation simple and brief, and try to make it interesting for very young children. Centers may conduct regular field trips that make the children aware of their community and introduce them to different types of activities they might pursue later in life. 

   Purchase materials and GIVE BOOKS
 Another way your club can support programs is to purchase materials that will improve the staff’s professional skills or give the children and their parents new opportunities for development. Special educational materials for the children might include developmental toys and books for learn-while-you-laugh games and programs. For the teachers and staff, funds can be spent on valuable resource materials or training seminars. Each center has information on recommended materials and probably has a wish list” of particular items that would be most useful. Resource materials can be valuable for parents too. Parents may never have had the courage or desire to frequent the public or school library. At the Head Start center, your club could establish a lending library of materials that parents can borrow and return on a sign-out basis. 

  Another project idea: THE BACKPACK PROGRAM Promote/support a Backpack Program for children in need. Supply backpacks and nonperishable food that is distributed to hungry children on Friday for food during the weekend. In many cases this is the only food the children have all weekend. The backpacks are returned on Monday and then filled and redistribute again on Friday. This project is currently going on in many communities across the U.S.  Kiwanis Clubs work with sponsors and the local schools to identify the children in need. 



click below to find information about the various programs offered by Scholastic
including discount book orders.

www/ a difference by buying books from the online bookstore,  Better World Books. This organization donates a portion of every sale to support literacy initiatives worldwide; helping to raise funds for the March of Dimes and UNICEF. You can also donate books and they will be recycled into homes where children need books and raise funds at the same time. get started at

www.the reading
provide boxes of books for age groups through high school at discount prices, i.e. books for 1-5yr olds, books for K4-2nd graders.

  www.kiwanisone/ and read the brochure entitled Early Childhood Development”

If your Club is a nonprofit 501(c)3 you can apply for a grant from the Molina Foundation
for books to be given to high poverty schools(more than 65% on the federal meal programs). Register at and you will receive a grant application during the year. You must be a 501(c)3 and agree to give books for ownership to children

Make a difference by buying books from the online bookstore,  Better World Books. This organization donates a portion of every sale to support literacy initiatives worldwide; helping to raise funds for the March of Dimes and UNICEF. You can also donate books and they will be recycled into homes where children need books and raise funds at the same time. get started at

www.the reading
provide boxes of books for age groups through high school at discount prices, i.e. books for 1-5yr olds, books for K4-2nd graders, 3rd-5th grade etc. or for individual grad levels.

If your Club is a nonprofit 501(c)3 you can apply for a grant from the Molina Foundation
for books to be given to high poverty schools(more than 65% on the federal meal programs). Register at and you will receive a grant application during the year. You must be a 501(c)3 and agree to give books for ownership to children in high poverty schools or refurbish libraries with books.

Supplies books for all grant levels at reduced prices through their grant program. Check it out!

For more information on Early Childhood Development go to
www.kiwanisone/ycpo and read the brochure entitled “Early Childhood Development”

Thank you for all that you do for Kiwanis and your communities!

Ava Adams, District Chair 2015-16
Early Childhood Development/Y.C.P.O.
Scarborough, Maine
New England and Bermuda District!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

YCPO - January 2017

Good Morning fellow Kiwanians!


Fact: 13% of SIDS(Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) has been attributed to smoking during pregnancy or after birth.
Fact: Every year more than 2.1 million babies are born prematurely or with birth defects throughout the world.
Fact: 100% of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders(FASD) are 100% preventable. 
Fact: Every year 2 million children die worldwide because they were not immunized. 


  Some children  born today die or suffer needlessly in spite of the medicines and technology available.Many will die because their mothers didn't know how to take care of themselves during pregnancy; they have poor eating habits, smoke, drink alcohol or even take drugs. Other children will be handicapped permanently by their mothers' lifestyles. 
  Some babies won't be seen by doctors for checkups and won't be immunized. Others will suffer from being "shaken"; they may suffer permanent disabilities or die. As Kiwanians there is much we can do.
 We can educate the public!

  Brochures available from the March of Dimes:

PRETERM LABOR identifies preterm labor, why it is important to know about it, risk factors, signs of preterm labor and what to do.

NEWBORN CARE deals with getting ready for the baby, baby's first checkup, feeding your baby, after baby comes home, when baby is sick, and vaccination information. 
Distribute to: doctor's offices, clinics, grocery stores,  hospitals that provide parent education classes for pregnant women and mother support groups, health fairs.


  Provide prenatal health-care at work

The March of Dimes has developed a series of nine seminars, titled Babies and You,” designed for presentation during lunch hours or other periods of the workday. These seminars educate potential parents about lifestyle behaviors that can affect a pregnancy and encourage early and regular prenatal care. Many employers have begun to realize that their companies benefit from programs that improve the pregnancy outcome of workers. 

A Kiwanis club could be the catalyst to bring the Babies and You” 
seminars to a community. The club can work with small businesses in 
the community to organize a class of employees for the seminars. 
The Babies and You” seminars are conducted by local March of Dimes offices. 
To find the nearest March of Dimes office, contact the Fulfillment Center 
of the March of Dimes at 800-367-6630 or


  Prevent Lead Poisoning
Even very low levels of lead in a child’s blood can permanently lower the child’s intelligence and development. Yet lead is in old paint, water pipes and the dirt around houses and highways. Protecting children from lead requires testing and removal or coverage of the lead source. 
To learn how a club can prevent lead poisoning in a community, download the service bulletin on lead poisoning at

Set up a health screening or free clinic.

  Develop new health-care services for children. 
download the service bulletin on Project Ideas at

  Contact the Department of Public in your area and ask if members can assist with their established programs.

Develop a smoking awareness campaign for pregnant women 
A public health expert has estimated that infant mortality would decrease by 10 percent if all pregnant women quit smoking. However, many pregnant smokers don’t know they are hurting their babies or the degree to which developing fetuses can be damaged. The Kiwanis service bulletin on smoking awareness for pregnant women, available at, provides reproducible materials and suggestions for the campaign’s organization, including a smoking cessation class for future parents. 

There is much work to be done. Just think - how many lives can we save or improve by going out and educating the public. 

Finally just a THANK YOU  to all Clubs and Club Members for all that you do for Kiwanis, your communities and people around the world!

Ava Adams, District Chair 2016-17
Early Childhood Development/Y.C.P.O.
Scarborough, Maine
New England and Bermuda District!