One of the compelling reasons for the development of the original Father Resource Program at then Wishard Hospital was to address the high teen birth rate particularly in the African American community; and related, high infant mortality. Yet 25 years later, Indiana is still struggling to address this critical issue in our community. In fact, Indiana is one of the ten worst states for infant mortality in the United States; with a baby dying every 14 hours (on average.) One in eight of these deaths are from unsafe sleep practices and the most common cause being suffocation.
Although recent data shows that the rate has dropped from 7.5 per 1,000 live births to 7.3, the rate of black infant deaths has increased significantly. More striking is that a black baby is more than twice as likely to die from unsafe sleep as a white baby in Indiana. Closer to home, Marion County is a hot spot with 7 of the 13 Indiana zip codes with the highest rates.
“To improve the life chances of children,” we must continue to increase awareness and understanding of this issue and the important role that have in reducing infant mortality. Many fathers wake up to feed the baby at night and put them back to sleep and they need to know the ABCs of safe sleep. This is why FFC will be introducing this topic in its Strong Fathers class as well as create an awareness campaign for the fathers and families we serve. We will also be working with community partners to create peer and family ambassadors. Why? Because all children deserve to celebrate their first birthday.
Alone: Only the baby should be in the crib
Back: Babies are safest when sleeping on their backs
Crib: Babies should only sleep in cribs.