Columbus- On January 29, Senate Bill 198 was passed unanimously by the Ohio House of Representatives designating October as “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month.  The legislation, jointly sponsored by Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) and Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) received unanimous passage in the Senate on October 16, 2013.
Senate Bill 198 also encourages the completion of a Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation (SUIDI) Reporting Form, developed by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention to be completed when a child one year or younger dies suddenly having been in good health. A copy of the SUIDI form is then forwarded to the Director of the Ohio Department of Health and used for the purpose of identifying causes in an effort to reduce infant mortality.
“I am pleased that our efforts to reduce the horrific infant mortality rates in Ohio have led to the passage of Senate Bill 198,” stated Assistant Democratic Leader, Senator Charleta B. Tavares. “By designating October as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month in the state we are providing a focused month to educate and prevent SIDS deaths in our state.”  

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death for infants between 1 month and 1 year of age. Nationally during the month of October, efforts have been made to raise awareness for this preventable and alarming circumstance.
“Senator Jones and I introduced this bill as our first step in reducing the unconscionable infant death rate in Ohio (Ohio is 49th out of 50 in the nation),” stated Tavares. “We can and must insure that our youngest residents live beyond their first year.  The health of our state is measured by how well our youngest are faring with their health and wellness."
Senators Tavares and Jones are also working with the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services committee to determine best practices to eliminate the unconscionable racial and ethnic minority disparities in infant mortality; Ohio is ranked 47th in the United States for all babies and 49th for African American babies.

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