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Oklahoma ranks No. 44 in infant mortality

  • Oklahoma ranks No. 44 in infant mortality
    Babies born in Oklahoma have less of a chance than in most states of making it to their first birthday. On Monday, health officials at the Oklahoma Leadership Summit on Infant Mortality focused on how they can work together to help Oklahoma's children.

    By Jaclyn Cosgrove | Published: October 2, 2012 Comment on this article 50

    Anytime Trevor was upset, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” usually did the trick.

    Melinda Heidling remembers her infant son as a happy baby who loved to play peek-a-boo.

    Memories are all Heidling has left of her only son.

    On Monday, Heidling shared her story of losing Trevor with a group of health and child welfare workers at the Oklahoma Leadership Summit on Infant Mortality.

    One of the messages Heidling shared for parents who have lost a child — it's OK to talk about it.

    “It's OK to let other people know what you've learned the hard way,” she said.

    “Having Trevor die from unsafe sleep is kind of embarrassing because — babies should not die like that. That should not be a reason for them to pass away. If you're embarrassed by it, you wouldn't want other people to be, too. Talk about it when it happens. Be open and honest about it when it happens.”

    Oklahoma ranked 44

    In 2009, Oklahoma ranked No. 44 in the U.S. in infant mortality, the death of a baby less than 1 year old, according to the state Health Department. Each year, about 400 babies in Oklahoma die before their first birthday, according to the Health Department.

    Trevor was born Aug. 18, 2009 and died April 9, 2010.

    He was almost 8 months old when he was found dead in a bunk bed. The baby was staying the weekend with another adult caregiver who did not have a crib for him to sleep in.

    Heidling had been told there was a crib at the home. Trevor died when, during a nap, his head became stuck between the mattress and the bed.

    Safe sleeping habits for parents was one of the main topics at the summit Monday.

    Many people don't know it's safest to put an infant on their back to sleep, said Julie Dillard, who works at the state Health Department, raising awareness about infant safe sleep and sudden infant death syndrome.

    The state Health Department is one of many partners involved in the “Preparing for a Lifetime, It's Everyone's Responsibility” initiative.

    The mission of the initiative is to educate residents, health care providers, policymakers and clergy members about infant mortality in Oklahoma.

    “We focused very heavily on it being everyone's responsibly,” Dillard said. “It's not just the Health Department that can share these messages. It really takes everyone who's in the community to share with their own community some of these safe messages.”

    Read more: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-ranks-no.-44-in-infant-mortality/article/3714965#ixzz28AUyzi8a

  • Safe Sleep Top 10

    Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night. The back sleep position is the safest, and every sleep time counts.

    Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, such as on a safety-approved* crib mattress, covered by a fitted sheet. Never place your baby to sleep on pillows, quilts, sheepskins, or other soft surfaces.

    Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby's sleep area. Don't use pillows, blankets, quilts, sheepskins, and pillow-like crib bumpers in your baby's sleep area, and keep any other items away from your baby's face.

    Do not allow smoking around your baby. Don't smoke before or after the birth of your baby, and don't let others smoke around your baby.

    Keep your baby's sleep area close to, but separate from, where you and others sleep. Your baby should not sleep in a bed or on a couch or armchair with adults or other children, but he or she can sleep in the same room as you. If you bring the baby into bed with you to breastfeed, put him or her back in a separate sleep area, such as a bassinet, crib, cradle, or a bedside cosleeper (infant bed that attaches to an adult bed) when finished.If you use a blanket, place the baby with feet at the end of the crib. The blanket should reach no higher than the baby's chest. Tuck the ends of the blanket under the crib mattress to ensure safety.

    Think about using a clean, dry pacifier when placing the infant down to sleep,
    but don't force the baby to take it. (If you are breastfeeding your baby, wait until your child is 1 month old or is used to breastfeeding before using a pacifier.)

    Do not let your baby overheat during sleep. Dress your baby in light sleep clothing, and keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.

    Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS because most have not been tested for effectiveness or safety.

    Do not use home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you have questions about using monitors for other conditions talk to your health care provider.

    Reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on your baby's head: provide "Tummy Time" when your baby is awake and someone is watching; change the direction that your baby lies in the crib from one week to the next; and avoid too much time in car seats, carriers, and bouncers.

    NICHD Safe to Sleep Campaign:  Safe Sleep for

    NICHD Safe to Sleep Campaign: Safe Sleep for Your Baby: Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (General Outreach)

  • Fast Facts About SIDS

    SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants between 1 month and 1 year of age.

    Most SIDS deaths happen when babies are between 2 months and 4 months of age.

    African American babies are more than 2 times as likely to die of SIDS as white babies.

    American Indian/Alaskan Native babies are nearly 3 times as likely to die of SIDS as white babies.

    Since the Back to Sleep campaign began in 1994, the SIDS rate in the United States has declined by more than 50 percent.

  • Back in 1973 my daughter (aged 3 months) died of SIDS... No one knew back then about sleeping position being the problem, and truthfully I don't know if it was a factor in her case, or if she even was sleeping on her back (I was on a field exercise at the time)...

    I do wonder if Oklahoma's ranking reflects the high Native American population considering the x3 rate they suffer...

  • Oh Taun, I'm so sorry. I truly can't imagine the pain of losing a child.

  • It was amazingly rough... Really put a huge bite on our marriage - we each blamed ourselves and really - with the knowledge of the times no one was to 'blame'... Our marriage never really recovered - though we did have other issues as well..

    It was also tough on our friends... They had no idea what to say or do - everyone was in their early 20's - and none of us had experienced anything like that...