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NYC Administration for Children's Services: The City's child welfare agency, dedicated to protecting children and strengthening families

Press Release

July 17, 2002

ACS Commissioner William C. Bell Offers Parents and Caregivers Tips to Keep Children Safe this Summer

New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Commissioner William C. Bell today reminded parents and caregivers of important summer safety tips to help reduce the risk of accidental death or injury of children in New York City. Commissioner Bell highlighted the safety precautions before reading to a group of children at Safe Horizon’s Manhattan Family Court Children’s Center, where child witnesses and other children of adults who must appear in court are provided with free, supportive, educational child care.

“As we head into summer, I would like to remind all New Yorkers to think of safety first when it comes to children,” said Commissioner Bell. “In summertime, parents and caregivers can unknowingly place children in dangerous situations that can easily be prevented. I urge all of you to keep in mind the basic tips we outline today - it could help save a child’s life.”

By increasing public awareness, ACS hopes to help prevent incidents such as the recent tragedies in Michigan and Long Island where children were left in hot cars resulting in one case, serious injury and in one case, death. In addition, in the past two months, ACS has received information about at least seven cases in which children were injured after falling out windows with no safety guards.

ACS recommends that parents and caregivers follow the guidelines listed below to keep children safe this summer and in the months to come:

  • Cars - Leaving a child in a closed car for even a few minutes can be deadly; temperatures can rise to dangerous levels as much as 50 degrees higher than outside inside a car on a sunny, warm day.
  • Water - As the temperature goes up, caregivers sometimes forget to keep an eye on their children at the beach, by the pool or in a bath. Do not leave young children unattended in these situations, since even shallow water can lead to drowning.
  • Windows - State law requires that families with children 10 years old and younger must have guards on all windows to prevent children from falling. Landlords are required to install guards. If you have a child 10 or younger and do not have guards on your windows, contact your landlord to have them installed.
  • Beds - Adults who share a bed with their child can roll over in their sleep and unknowingly suffocate the child. Always place young children in a crib to sleep.
  • Fireworks - Not only illegal, fireworks are also very dangerous. Even a sparkler can injure a child. Do not light fireworks around children or permit a child to touch them.
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome - The heat can sometimes unravel a caregiver and lead to frustration. Remember that it is never OK to shake a baby - it can lead to a disabling injury or death.

Above all else, Commissioner Bell reminded parents and caregivers to never leave young children unattended in any situation.

“Safe Horizon children’s center is an excellent example of what adults can do to keep children safe while they are otherwise occupied,” said Commissioner Bell. “By providing a safe place for children to play while their parents or guardians are in court, Safe Horizon guarantees caregivers an alternative to leaving their children unattended.”

Safe Horizon’s 10 children’s centers provide free supportive, educational childcare to child witnesses and other children of adults who must appear in court. Safe Horizon also operates child advocacy centers in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens.

“A day in court can be stressful and frightening for children. Both children and adults benefit from Safe Horizon’s court-based Children’s Centers which allow parents and caregivers to focus on their court matters, knowing that their children are in a safe and nurturing environment,” Gordon J. Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, Safe Horizon.

The following resources are available for more information on child safety:

  • To report abuse or neglect, call New York State Central Register Child Abuse and Maltreatment Hotline, 800-342-3720; TDD 800-638-5163
  • If a child is in immediate danger, call 911
  • The National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect,, 800-FYI-3366
  • The National Safe Kids Campaign,, 202-662-0600
  • The National Safety Council,, 630-285-1121
  • The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Call Center can assist with window guard safety complaints at 212-442-9666

Please visit ACS’s web site,, learn more information about child safety and to view the video, “Portrait of Promise: Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome.”

Safe Horizon is the nation’s leading victim assistance, advocacy, and violence prevention agency. With a staff of over 900, Safe Horizon offers more than 75 programs throughout New York City’s five boroughs. Programs in community offices, shelters, courts, police precincts, and schools help over 250,000 New Yorkers each year. Safe Horizon’s mission is to provide support, prevent violence, and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities.

The New York City Administration for Children’s Services protects and ensures the safety and well being of New York City’s children and their families. Formed in 1996, the agency oversees the City’s programs of child protection, foster care, preventive services, adoptive parenting, child support enforcement, child care and Head Start.

ACS Press Office
Phone: 212-341-0999
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