Infant mortality high in OH; solutions presented to parents

Infant mortality high in OH; solutions presented to parents

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - In Ohio, seven in every 1,000 babies won't make it to their first birthday. The state ranks 45th in the nation in the number of babies that die before age one, a statistic that a consortium of usually competing hospitals joined together to fight against on Saturday.

There are many causes of infant mortality. Many parents don't know how to properly position their baby for sleeping; others have inappropriate or unsafe car seats. Other infants succumb to head injuries, improper nutrition and a dozen more behaviors.

The Baby 101 Boot Camp program, a partnership between the Cleveland Clinic, the Cleveland Department of Public Health, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, March of Dimes, Mom's First, Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services, the Ohio Department of Health, UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and Womankind, was designed to give parents the tools to raise a healthy baby.

Dr. Robert Ruhasz is president of South Pointe Hospital, which is surrounded by pockets of high infant mortality incidence regions he refers to as "ground zero." He says research discovers new techniques for fighting infant mortality all the time.

"It changes over time as we do research," he said. "Having the ability to share some of that information with young families, it's helpful."

One example of changing research comes from cars. Now, parents would never let children ride unstrapped in the back of a vehicle, yet, before new safety data was available, it happened routinely.

Parents were also taught how to do infant CPR: do 30 compressions to simulate a heartbeat, breathe into the baby's mouth and nose, call 911 and then return to CPR.

Parents were shown how to correctly hold their children. According to an instructor, dads tend to hold their child with one arm while doing other things, while moms tend to use both arms and delegate tasks. Both are okay when done properly, as was shown at boot camp.

New mom Erin Robinson says she came to "get some insight on what I can do to keep my baby healthy, and so she can reach her full potential."

Experienced dad Leland Walker said he attended to "learn new and interesting things about your children, so they won't die from SIDS. Just new information."

"A lot of people are embarrassed," a counselor said about the touchy issues parents go through. "They don't want to talk about it. But you gotta talk to them and coach them and they open up to you eventually."

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