Ohio has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the nation, ranked 47th with a rate of 7.6 in 2012. Although many organizations have been working tirelessly to improve the statewide rate, Ohio continues to fall behind nationally. As leaders in our communities, hospitals are ideal partners to help address this issue in a coordinated and targeted way. Since implementation of this project, Ohio has seen its national rank improve to 45th in 2013. This shows great strides on Ohio, but leaves significant room for further improvement.

In 2014, the OHA Board of Trustees approved an aggressive, multi-strategy plan to work with hospitals and other organizations to reduce the infant mortality rate by five percent each year from 2014-2016, ultimately improving Ohio’s rate to 6.0 by 2020.

Many factors influence infant mortality, but in Ohio each year more than 150 incidents are sleep-related. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Ohio Department of Health recommend that all infants sleep alone, on their backs and in a crib – every time they are placed to sleep – to reduce these unfortunate tragedies.

Safe Sleep Summit

More than 150 hospital representatives and safe sleep champions from around the state were in attendance at the OHA Safe Sleep Summit in Columbus on Oct. 9, 2014. The summit was a full day dedicated to sharing safe sleep strategies and best practices. Participants engaged in invigorating discussions and heard presentations from experts at the Ohio Department of Health, Charlie’s Kids Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Cribs for Kids and more. Participants also heard from special guests Ohio Senators Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) and Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus,) who are steadfastly committed to reducing infant mortality and raising awareness about the importance of safe sleep.

Presentations from the summit are now available

About the Hospital Initiative

Ohio’s hospitals have a unique opportunity to reach the parents of nearly 140,000 newborns every year with educational messages about the importance of providing a safe sleeping environment. Although hospitals have been providing parental education for a very long time, the Ohio Hospital Association has recently launched the Safe Sleep is Good4Baby statewide initiative to draw attention to the importance of safe sleep in the hospital, at home and in the community.
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