Ohio Sees Increase In Infant Mortality
Senator Tavares calls on General Assembly to pass infant mortality legislation

Columbus—Today, the Ohio Department of Health released the 2015 Infant Mortality Data for the state. Ohio not only experienced an increase in the overall infant mortality rate, but the infant mortality rate for African American babies increased vastly. Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) is calling on the Ohio General Assembly to quickly pass Senate Bill 332, a comprehensive infant mortality bill co-sponsored with Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springboro).

“The report points to a disturbing trend for all babies but especially for African American babies,” said Senator Tavares. “The increase is disturbing and highlights the imperative for the General Assembly to pass Senate Bill 332 and implement the other recommendations included in the Ohio Infant Mortality Commission’s Report (March 2016).”

Ohio’s overall infant mortality rate rose from 6.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2014, to 7.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015. For African American babies, the increase went from 14.3 in 2014 to 15.1 in 2015. While Ohio’s infant mortality rate has gone up and down for Caucasian babies, African American babies have seen an increase each year since 2013.

Senate Bill 332, which is currently undergoing hearings in the Ohio House of Representatives after passing the Ohio Senate in September, represents the most comprehensive legislation introduced in the Ohio General Assembly to date. It includes provisions such as eliminating the sale of crib bumpers, providing annual safe sleep education to parents and infant caregivers, long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) to provide safe birth spacing, and better data tracking so that outcomes can be effectively measured – especially as they relate to race and ethnicity.

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