By Natasha Robinson, MPCA Communications Specialist
October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Research has shown that there are some preventive measures that can be taken to increase healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. As part of SIDS Awareness Month, I’d like to highlight what Michigan is doing to decrease infant mortality and increase infant health.
The State of Michigan has created a strategic plan to reduce infant mortality due to the staggering statistics. Michigan’s infant death rate only declined by 0.4% from 2005 to 2009, according to Michigan’s Kids Count data. Of Michigan’s live births, about 7.6% of infants die by their first birthday. And, minorities in Michigan see higher rates of infant deaths.
“Infant mortality is a major public health issue in the state of Michigan,” according to the Michigan Infant Mortality Reduction Plan. “Michigan’s infant mortality rate consistently exceeds the national average.”
The state’s strategic plans looks at social determinants of health and social equity, and takes into account the environment of mother and baby. Michigan Health Centers often provide links to community resources that can improve the family’s environment, improving pregnancy and infant health outcomes.
The Michigan Infant Mortality Reduction Plan says that, “Linkages between health providers and community organizations that focus on such life factors as safe housing, food access, clean air and water, job opportunities, family violence and political engagement are likely to improve the impact of environment on the health of mothers and babies.”
The good news is that Health Centers in Michigan are already doing this. It’s up to us to make people aware of the services and resources available to them.
Some other resources that promote awareness about SIDS include:
Tomorrow’s Child, a Michigan organization with information and support for SIDS awareness.
The University of Michigan has a page of resources on SIDS that you can access here.
The State of Michigan also released a report on safe sleep in 2004 that you can access here.
First Candle has established a 2012 Awareness Month Action Center on its website at www.firstcandle.org. Interested individuals can access information on ways they can help create awareness and/or show support for families and babies in their local community. Crisis counselors are also available 24/7 by calling, toll free, 1-800-221-7437.
Also, pregnant women and new moms can sign up for Text4Baby, a free text messaging service that sends information on parenting, pregnancy, and more to your fingertips. Visit text4baby.org to sign up. You can also link to a list of hotlines here.