LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – During the month of October, people around the country will raise awareness about the sad reality of infant mortality. Infant mortality is the death of a baby before his or her first birthday. According to the Center for Disease Control, just two years ago, close to 1000 babies died in Kentucky and Indiana.
More than 23,000 infants died in the United States in 2016. The five leading causes of infant death were:
1. Birth defects
2. Preterm birth and low birth weight
3. Sudden infant death syndrome
4. Maternal pregnancy complications
5. Injuries like suffocation
For more information on infant mortality click here.
According to the CDC, Indiana had 620 infant deaths in 2016, while Kentucky had 370.
Health advocates say every four days in Kentucky, an infant dies due to a sleep related risk factor. According to officials, the Commonwealth’s rate used to be one death every five days. Erika Janes from Norton Children’s Hospital said the problem is getting worse. Janes says many of these deaths could potentially be prevented simply by following the ABCs of Safe Sleep. Babies should be alone, on their back, and in their crib.
Despite having the highest health care costs in the world, the U.S. is far from the top in preventing infant mortality. Child Advocates say education, preventing birth defects, preconception and prenatal care, using newborn screening to detect hidden conditions and safe sleep practices can all help reduce this number.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. To help families, the community is invited to the 14th annual Walk to Remember to honor children lost through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death.
The walk and memorial service will be held at Carrie Gaulbert Cox Park and are open to all family members, friends and health care professionals. For more information on the Walk to Remember click here.