(WYTV) – Infant mortality rates have dropped for a third straight year in Ohio, but health experts say that’s still not enough. They want every baby to make it to their first birthday and beyond.
Healthy moms, healthy homes, healthy babies.
“If they’re healthier, baby will be healthier,” said Dr. Elena Rossi, with Akron Children’s Hospital.
But that’s not always the case.
Over the course of the last year, infant mortality rates in Ohio have gone down again. The Ohio Department of Health recently released the latest data. It’s from 2019.
“The bad news is that our infants who are infants of color still have a higher rate of infant mortality — as much as three times higher than that of white infants. That’s very alarming,” Dr. Rossi said.
Governor Mike DeWine knows this is a huge problem. He recently established the Eliminating Racial Disparities in Infant Mortality Task Force. Their goal is to create a strategy to help put an end to infant mortality while addressing racial inequities.
“We’re so fortunate that the health of all Ohioans is prime on Governor Mike DeWine’s list,” Dr. Rossi said.
Health officials across the state and right here in the Valley work tirelessly connecting new moms to the resources they need during their pregnancy and making sure all babies reach their first birthday.
“If we could connect more women each and every day then we know the birth outcomes will improve,” Dr. Rossi said.
Akron Children’s Hospital is a hub for that. They know all the programs available and where to find them. They also focus on the ABCs of sleep.
“Babies need to sleep alone, on their back, in an empty crib. If you don’t have a crib, one will be provided to you,” Dr. Rossi said.
All you have to do is ask.