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New Local Effort Aims To Reduce Infant Mortaility Rate

Central Ohio health officials are launching a new campaign to help reduce infant mortality.

 Mike Foley has details.
With the Real People…Real Stories initiative, Columbus-area residents share their deepest heartbreak in the hopes that others won’t experience something similar.

“My name is ShawNaye Scott. Jaya is my first-born that I had in June 2013. She’s an angel now. She fell asleep next to me in a bed, and I watched her sleep until I fell asleep. But next morning when I woke up, I realized that I had slept a little longer than usual. When I woke up talking to Jaya, she wasn’t awake. I picked her up, and she wasn’t breathing. As a mother, your very first job is to keep your child safe. If I could change anything, I would go back that night and make sure I did everything I could so she could still be here with her sister.”

“My name is Nathan Hurd, and my wife Michelle and I live in Columbus with our four wonderful boys. I was at work on a Friday afternoon, and I got a frantic phone call from my wife at the baby sitter’s. I rushed to the car and stared home, and got a call that he didn’t make it. He was sleeping with this seemingly innocent little blanket. I believe this blanket played a key role in that. Essentially this blanket meant that my son was sleeping in an unsafe sleep environment, which sounds crazy because this is just a simple innocent little blanket. We bought one of these for each of our children, and no one had any problems with it. But for some reason, my baby Will had some underlying vulnerability in his brain that caused him to not respond when this blanket was covering his face.”

The multimedia outreach and awareness campaign mixes those and other stories with advice from health care professionals and a primary focus on the ABC’s of safe sleep – infants should sleep alone, on their back and in a crib that’s empty, free from toys, stuffed animals and even blankets. Statistics from Columbus Public Health show that seven babies have died this year due to unsafe sleep practices. The more than $1.5 million-dollar campaign will be funded primarily by Franklin County, which will contribute $950,000 to the effort. It’ll be run by Celebrate One, a collaborative effort by Franklin County, Columbus Public Health and private companies to reduce infant mortality by 40% and cut the racial disparity in half. Infant fatalities this year are on pace for a 13% reduction compared to last year’s numbers.  


Mike Foley joined WCBE in February 2000, coming from WUFT in Gainesville, Florida. Foley has worked in various roles, from producing news and feature stories to engineering Live From Studio A sessions. A series of music features Foley started in 2018 called Music Journeys has grown into a podcast and radio show. He also assists in developing other programs in WCBE's Podcast Experience. Foley hosts The Morning Mix, a weekday music show featuring emerging and established musicians, our Columbus-area and Ohio-based talent, and additional artists that inspire him.
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