Infant mortality rates in Kentucky, Indiana on the rise

More local children aren’t making it to their first birthday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 23,000 infants died in the United States in 2016. Indiana had 620 infant deaths, while Kentucky had 370 — both higher infant mortality rates than the national average.

The five leading causes of infant death were:

  1. Birth defects
  2. Preterm birth and low birth weight
  3. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  4. Pregnancy complications
  5. Sleep-related infant deaths, such as suffocation
Follow these safe sleep practices
Keep your baby safe

October is SIDS Awareness Month. Find more safety tips at

One of the biggest factors for SIDS and suffocation is that parents aren’t putting their babies in safe sleeping environments.

“We used to lose one baby every five days in Kentucky — now it’s one in four,” said Erika Janes, R.N., injury prevention coordinator for Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness. “Adults sharing a bed with infants continues to be a big and deadly issue. It increases the risk of SIDS and suffocation by 40 percent.”

To keep children safe, parents, grandparents and caregivers need to follow the ABCDs of sleep. Babies should sleep:

Alone, on their Back, in a safe Crib, and only be held and cared for when caregivers are awake and alert to prevent Drops.

“It’s very tempting to let a crying infant fall asleep in your bed or on your chest on the couch, but it can be deadly,” Erika said. “If you fall asleep with the child next to you or on you, you could roll over onto your baby or your baby could slide off of your chest and be stuck next to you, causing suffocation.

“We want babies in the parents’ room so they can respond to them, but we want them in their own space.”

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