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“All Babies Matter” Event Focuses on Preventing Infant Deaths

September 27, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio has the 11th highest rate of infant mortality in the United States, and a gathering in Columbus today is aimed at turning the tide.

September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month and October is SIDS Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Katie Higgins, project manager for the Council on Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies, says her group is focusing on both observances at its Reducing Infant Mortality event.

"Our tagline right now is 'All Babies Matter,' not letting people drop through the cracks. We want to make sure that every baby born makes it to their first birthday and beyond, happy and healthy, all through life."

In Ohio, Higgins says, more than 1,000 babies die each year, nearly three each day. Beyond reducing infant mortality, she says, it's also crucial to eliminate disparities.

"Ohio's African-American babies are dying at more than twice the rate of white babies. The white rate is 6.4, and the African-American rate is 15.5."

The Council on Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies, along with Voices for Ohio's Children, are working to make reducing infant mortality a community priority.

Many infants die because of prematurity or low birth weight, birth defects or pregnancy complications or unsafe sleep environments. Higgins says more help is needed to support early prenatal care, help women access health care and encourage breastfeeding.

Higgins says her group also is encouraging better education of new parents on keeping a healthy, smoke-free home and promoting infant safe sleep.

Today's event begins at noon on the west lawn of the Ohio Statehouse.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH