Franklin County's infant mortality rate declined last year, but a racial disparity remains.
Mike Foley has details.
Preliminary 2018 figures released by CelebrateOne and Columbus Public Health show Franklin County's infant mortality rate dropped to 7.5 deaths per 1,000 births. Of the 18,240 babies born in the county last year, 136 died before reaching the age of one. That's 19 fewer fatalities than 2017. Health officials say despite the progress, non-Hispanic black infants are 2.5 times more likely to die than non-Hispanic white babies. Among the strategies this year, expanding access to and enrollment in evidence-based home visitations. Trained ambassadors support families during the first year of a new birth by listening, answering questions, and providing the best advice for healthy outcomes. One focus will be on expanding safe sleep education, as 29 infants deaths last year were sleep-related. Health officials say most of those were due to the infant co-sleeping with another person or being in an unsafe environment that did not follow at least one of the ABCs of safe sleep - Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib. With the Central Ohio Hospital Council, CelebrateOne will create an updated education video about safe sleep practices that will be shown to all new parents. More data and information about CelebrateOne's efforts can be found here.