August 30, 2016

Sudden Unexpected Deaths Among Black Infants Increasing At A Rapid Rate

The infant mortality rates among black babies in Indiana are more than twice the state’s average, according to data from the Indiana State Department of Health.

In 2014, 14.7 babies per every 1,000 born to black mothers died before their first birthday. The state’s total infant mortality rate was a little over 7 per every 1,000.

Additionally, the rate of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome — SUIDS — among black babies is getting exponentially higher. In 2014, 240 African-American babies per every 100,000 died from SUIDS, a 60 percent increase over the year before.

SUIDS refers to any time an infant dies unexpectedly and is most often attributed to unsafe sleeping conditions, such as lying an infant on its stomach instead of its back and not using a crib.

Studies indicate such practices are higher among black parents and parents with lower incomes.

The Indiana State Department of Health has identified addressing infant mortality as one of its highest priorities. The ISDH is currently reviewing applications for newly-created Safety PIN effort, which allocates $11 million in grant money to efforts to fight infant mortality.

To prevent SUIDs, the Indiana Perinatal Network says to always put a baby to sleep on its back. Caretakers should avoid soft sleeping materials such as pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and bumper pads.

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