HAMILTON COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - The infant mortality rate in both Cincinnati and the country are the lowest on record. However, local rates are still significantly worse than the national rate.
Local health and civic leaders gathered on Tuesday at the Community Action Agency to announce the 2013 infant mortality rate.
While fewer deaths were reported than previous years, there is still plenty of work to do. Hamilton County saw 95 babies die before their first birthday, for a rate of 8.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. Of those deaths, 53 were City of Cincinnati residents, giving the city a rate of 9.9 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Both the city and the county rate are the lowest on record. But, the local rates are still significantly worse than the national rate of 6.1 deaths per 1,000 live births.
African American families are still more than twice as likely to have an infant death as white families in Hamilton County.
"We are cautiously optimistic that these numbers are going down, but we still have a very long way to go" said County Commissioner Todd Portune, founder and co-chair of Cradle Cincinnati, the collaborative effort aimed at reducing infant deaths.
Cradle Cincinnati also released a report at Tuesday's meeting that highlights the three biggest ways that we can reduce infant deaths in our community: Spacing, Smoking and Sleep.
- Short pregnancy spacing (18 months or fewer in between pregnancies) can lead to premature birth and is associated with 33% of our 2013 infant deaths.
- Maternal smoking during pregnancy can lead to premature birth and birth defects and is associated with 15% of our 2013 infant deaths.
- Our rate of sleep-related infant deaths is triple the national average. Babies sleep safest when they sleep Alone, on their Back and in a Crib.
Tuesday's meeting solicited input from community members about how we can collectively address these three issues moving forward.