SUMMIT COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - While most states are seeing their infant mortality rates drop, Ohio is seeing an increase.
Summit County Public Health is sending a warning to parents after reviewing results of a study it conducted.
-Ohio's infant mortality rate is higher than the national rate.
-From 2000-2009, Summit County had an average of 48.8 infant deaths a year.
-In Summit County, African-American mothers are more than twice as likely as white mothers, to have an infant die before age 1.
"We realize that we're one of the worst states for infant mortality, but also for our African-American babies who are dying twice as much, and that's a concern for us," said Blair.
Blair says there a number of factors, including stress, that affect African-American mothers more than white mothers, but none are definite.
The study does not explain why there is a disparity between white and black mothers, but Blair says the goal is to target as many moms as possible, so that the numbers can go down across the board.
"You tend to think of low income to be a factor, but not always." said Blair.
Premature birth is the leading cause of death and the second is unsafe sleeping environments.
"People sleeping with their babies, and then they roll over on them," explained Blair.
Ohio and Summit County's infant mortality rates have remained steady for the past decade.
The county wants to continue to educate parents about the issue until the number of deaths declines.
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