Child Safety Seats

Using a child safety seat correctly makes a big difference. A child safety seat may not protect your child in a crash if it is not used correctly and installed properly in your vehicle. For more information on child safety seats, visit Parents Central website or review Car Seats: Information for Families from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children)

The WIC Program prescribes and pays for nutritious foods to supplement the diets of pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children up to their fifth birthday. Individuals who qualify are "nutritionally at-risk," based on a medical and nutrition assessment, and meet income guidelines (185% poverty). Program participants are reassessed periodically to determine eligibility status. These services are provided through contracts with county and city health departments, community health centers, community action agencies and hospitals. WIC has contracts with retail grocers and pharmacies to provide the prescribed supplemental foods. The WIC Program provides:

  • nutrition education to program participants to change eating patterns in a positive way to improve their health status;
  • breastfeeding counseling and support to pregnant women and new mothers on the program;
  • immunization screenings and referrals to assure children are age-appropriately immunized;
  • nutrition counseling to special needs populations; and
  • medical referrals to health care providers to address the WIC participants needs.

To find a local WIC program or for more information, call 1-800-TEL-LINK (1-800-835-5465) or visit the WIC website.

Benzocaine and Babies: Not a Good Mix

Parents should consider risk of using oral gels and liquids for mouth and gum pain.

When a baby is teething, many a mom or dad reaches for a pain remedy containing benzocaine to help soothe sore gums. Benzocaine is a local anesthetic and can be found in such over-the-counter (OTC) products as Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel, and Orabase. But the use of benzocaine gels and liquids for mouth and gum pain can lead to a rare but serious - and sometimes fatal - condition called methemoglobinemia. And children under 2 years old appear to be at particular risk.

Learn more at

Infant Loss Resources

Infant Loss Resources is the source of current and accurate information about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and risk reduction techniques in Missouri.  Infant Loss Resources offers professional and community education opportunities about reducing the risk of SIDS and infant death throughout the state of Missouri and in the Kansas counties surrounding Kansas City.

The mission of Infant Loss Resources is to create a community where all babies are healthy through the first year of life and in which:

  • professionals and the community understand the risk factors for SIDS and infant death and use healthy infant care practices;
  • families and professionals affected by the death of a baby receive supportive services and education;
  • research to stop SIDS and infant death is supported.

Infant Loss Resources recommends the following strategies to reduce the risk of SIDS:

  • Place babies on their backs to sleep in a crib that meets current safety standards on a firm, flat mattress at naptime and nighttime.
  • Slats of the crib should not be wider than a soft drink can.
  • Do not smoke while pregnant or in the presence of babies, and don't let others smoke around your baby.
  • Remove soft, fluffy items such as quilts, comforters, pillows and stuffed animals from baby's crib.
  • Do not let the baby get too hot.

For more information on sleep safety, call 1-800-421-3511 or visit the Infant Loss Resources website.

Choosing Childcare

Choosing the right childcare for your family is an important decision. You have the right to ask the childcare providers specific questions and to personally see the facility before you trust your baby to their care.

  • Ask if the caregiver is licensed or inspected by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
  • Find out how many children under two years of age are in the home or center.
  • Ask how they handle emergencies.
  • Discuss your baby's feeding routine and sleeping routine, including always placing the baby to sleep on its back.
  • Be sure the home or center is safe and clean.
  • Tell your childcare provider to call you if he/she gets upset with your baby.
  • Tell the provider to NEVER shake your baby.

Local Resource and Referral agencies are located throughout the state and can assist you in making an appropriate child care choice. Call 1-800-200-9017 for the Resource and Referral office nearest you or visit the Child Care website.


ParentLink, sponsored by the University of Missouri-Columbia, provides support for parents through an information line, lending library, and community development activities. ParentLink's mission is to help Missouri parents provide safe, healthy and nurturing environments for their children. For more information, please call 1-800-552-8522, or visit the ParentLink website.

Toll-Free Phone Numbers

American Cancer Society Helpline (Smoking Cessation)
Breastfeeding Support
Child Abuse Hotline
MO HealthNet for Kids
Division of Highway Safety (child safety seats)
GED Information
HIV/STD Information Line
March of Dimes
MO HealthNet Recipient Services Line
ParentLink (parenting questions)
Parents as Teachers
Poison Control
SIDS Resources, Inc.
Special Health Care Needs
WIC (Women, Infants and Children)

Local School District