Florida Healthy Baby is a statewide initiative designed to positively impact the disparities in infant mortality. The Florida Healthy Babies Community Action Planning Team (CHIP) is made up of community partners committed to the health and well-being of women and children, and to reducing the number of deaths of babies throughout the county.


Florida Healthy Babies Community Action Planning Team Meeting Partners include

  • Florida Department of Health
  • Healthy Start Coalition of Okaloosa and Walton Counties
  • Chautauqua Healthcare Services of Lakeview
  • Children’s Home Society Western – Healthy Families
  • New Parent Support – Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field
  • CDAC Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.
  • West Florida Area Health Education Center
  • Northwest Florida State College
  • Fort Walton Beach Medical Center
  • North Okaloosa Medical Center
  • Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast
  • And MORE!

If you are interested in participating in the Florida Healthy Babies Community Action Planning Team Meeting for either Okaloosa or Walton County, please call 850-833-9284

Recipe for a Healthy 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)
Clinical & Nutrition Services
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 counseling program
  • Breast Pump Loan Program

For more local resources visit the Counseling & Support Groups page in the Healthy Start Family Resource Directory. (See Resources Page)

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.

In 2018, 86 children in Florida died due to unsafe sleep. Of those 86 deaths, five occurred in Okaloosa County and two occurred in Walton County.

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.

For more information on Safe Sleep and what is being done to educate caregivers in Okaloosa and Walton County please see our Safe Sleep Page.

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 bleeding 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.

In 2018, there were 16 infant homicides in the state of Florida.

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

For Counseling, Support Groups, or Crisis Hotline numbers, please visit the Healthy Start Family Resource Directory.

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
West FL AHEC provides resources, tools, and classes to support smoking cessation. Visit their website for more information on Tools to Quit and classes.
Visit website

Tobacco Free Florida
TFF is a comprehensive tobacco control program that is working to reduce tobacco use throughout the state. Free services and information available on their website.
Visit website

Many members of the FL Healthy Baby Group are trained in the Recipe for a Healthy Baby presentation and are available to visit you and your organization. If you are interested in a Recipe for a Healthy Baby Presentation or to request printed materials, call the Healthy Start Coalition at 850-833-9284.

Download our Recipe for a Healthy Baby Brochures

2019 Recipe Brochure (English) 2019 Recipe Brochure (Español)