Indiana infant mortality rate reaches biggest decrease in years

Indiana's infant mortality rate has shown its biggest decrease in 6 years.

Posted: Jan 20, 2020 8:56 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- Indiana's infant mortality rate has shown its biggest decrease in 6 years.

In 2018, 559 Hoosier babies died before the age of 1. In 2017, that number was 602.

Regional hospital and many others in the area have looked to education as part of the solution.

News 10 spoke with Jennifer Powell, the director of women and children at Regional hospital.

"At one point, Indiana had one of the worst infant mortality rates in the country," Powell said.

She explained that co-sleeping is one of the major contributors to infant mortality.

"There's a lot of myths out there. Oh, I'll feel my baby move or I'll know if they're close up against me or whatever. The fact of the matter is you don't. Our infant mortality rates just in the community we had one baby a month dying of unsafe sleep,' Powell said.

The good news is the state dropped from 7.3% infant mortality rate to 6.8%. Much of the reason for that drop was due to resources, education and overall community support on the issue.

"No one wants to put their baby at risk and chance that they die," Powell explained. "It's really the education piece on that co-sleeping especially with a newborn is not safe and you are risking your baby's life by doing it."

An infant should always sleep alone, on their back, or in their crib. 

"I get it, you want to sleep with your baby. Every parent goes through this. But, you can't put them at risk and if you follow something as simple as A.B.C., we can lower the rates," Powell said.

Regional offers several resources in helping new parents. For more information, click here.

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