Thursday, October 23, 2014

Infant Mortality Awareness - A Guest Post From Jean Young, Executive Director at Family Health

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Family Health is very concerned about the crisis level that Infant mortality has reached in our state. In Ohio, more than 1,000 babies die each year before reaching their first birthday. In fact, more than three Ohio infants die each week due to improper sleeping arrangements- 66% of those are infants who share their sleep space with another person. This puts our state at a dismal 47th in the nation for infant mortality.

As a member of the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers, that is precisely why our Board of Directors has unanimously voted to designate infant mortality our top priority and will work in a statewide effort to reduce infant mortality and help shine a light on the unfortunate reality in Ohio.
To help bring a spotlight to this issue, Senate Bill 198, sponsored by Senators Shannon Jones and Charleta Tavares, designated October as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month in Ohio. This gives us a valuable opportunity to educate our citizens about the importance of safe sleep practices, particularly during the first six months of an infant's life.

In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) expanded upon the original "Back to Sleep" campaign with updated safe sleep recommendations that encourage parents to not only place children on their backs while sleeping, but also stress the importance of creating a safe sleeping environment EVERY time a baby goes to sleep. The recommendations include:

  • Room sharing, NOT bed sharing;
  • Always putting the baby on his or her back to sleep; and
  • A sleep environment free from blankets, pillows, bumpers, stuffed animals and other soft objects.

Let’s work together to raise awareness about safe sleep practices so that more Ohio babies will celebrate their first birthdays!

Jean Young
Executive Director
Family Health, Inc.

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