On May 23 the Healthy Start Coalition for Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties will host its annual baby shower in Port St. Joe.

On May 23 the Healthy Start Coalition for Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties will host its annual baby shower in Port St. Joe.

The event aims to educate and be a resource for new parents.

Though the focus of the event is on delivering parenting information to new or expectant mothers with a baby six months or younger, caregivers, fathers and new moms from other counties are welcome to attend.

Healthy Start’s mission is to educate new parents and promote positive birth outcomes and protect the health and well-being of all mothers and children in the surrounding area.

“It’s essentially a bridal expo for new parents,” said Director Sharon Owens, who’s been involved with Healthy Start for the past eight years.

With a reputation for keeping its baby showers fun, informative and engaging, Healthy Start’s annual events draw 50 to 100 attendees but the coalition is always looking to increase their numbers to ensure that all babies in the region get off to a safe and healthy start.

Car seat safety, safe sleeping, and available community resources are just a few of the topics covered during the two-hour seminar. Information booths will also be on-site to pass along flyers for pediatric physicians, dentists, and other infant services.

To keep things light, information will be delivered through activities and games, and a series of door prizes will be given away throughout the presentations. The grand prize winner will be awarded a $200 gift certificate to Walmart.

“Sometimes people are scared to death when they come to the baby shower,” said Owens. “It’s neat to see new moms realize that there’s so much support.”

In addition to passing along information and resources to new parents, Owens emphasized the importance of building a network of supportive and knowledgeable people.

“You have to get a driver’s license to drive a car, but there’s not a test to have a baby,” she said.

Healthy Start gives guidance to anyone with a baby up to three years of age. There are no eligibility requirements and new parents can call 800-895-9506 with questions. The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions has 32 branches across the state all working to improve pregnancy outcomes, reduce infant mortality rates and promote healthy growth and development in all children.

Healthy Start’s fifth Gulf County baby shower will take place at the Centennial Building from 4 p.m. – 6 ET. The shower is a free community-wide event.