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Men to Discuss How to Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death in Lucas County

With high rates of infant deaths in Toledo’s black community, the crisis is real

Each year, nearly 13,000 African American babies die before their 1st birthday – two times more that white babies, from miscarriage, stillbirth, suffocation, asphyxia, entrapment, infection, ingestion, metabolic disease, cardiac arrhythmia, trauma (accidental or non-accidental), SIDS and other deaths. In 2016, Lucas County’s infant death rate for African American babies was 14.2 per 1,000 live births, and 5.0 for white babies. 

To help reverse the trend, African American men must mobilize.

A forum entitled A Community of Committed Men, Protecting Tomorrow’s Future, will be held Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm at The Family Baptist Church, 1002 W. Bancroft, Toledo, Ohio, to discuss strategies on how men can work together, and in their communities, to reduce the infant mortality rate and build awareness of the growing rate of infant deaths in the African American community. The event is sponsored by Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Baby 1st Network and the Global Infant Safe Sleep Center (GISS).

“Whether you’re a father, grandfather, uncle, brother, or friend, every man must find ways at home and in their community to help fight this crisis,” said Mark Craig McBee, training consultant for GISS. A Toledo native, McBee is a fire fighter for Toledo Department of Fire & Rescue Operations, paramedic and first responder.

Men can play a significant role in reversing the trend by learning how to create a safe sleep environment for an infant and then passing that information on to another family member or neighbor. They can learn how stress can impact a mother and infant and share that information with others. Or sponsor an event or support group in their neighborhood or at a church. 

“There are many ways men can make a difference,” said McBee. “This isn’t a woman’s problem. As men, we have to share the burden and learn how to protect the little ones.”

The event will allow men in the community a chance to listen, learn, ask questions and walk away with strategies they can take back to their homes, neighbors, and communities.  

“There are a lot of resources out there and we are here to help guide men in this community to teach other men how to reduce SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death,” said Nathaniel L. Jordan II, Community Relations Consultant for GISS and Executive Director, Fatherhood Matters Program, Columbus Kappa Foundation. “Lucas County has one of the highest rates in Ohio, and we are working to offer programs that will turn this around. We’re tapping into this resource by sharing our knowledge.”

In Ohio, according to the 2015 data released by the Ohio Department of Health, a total of 1,005 infants died before their first birthday. Racial disparities persist with black infants dying at nearly three times the rate of white infants. In Ohio from 2009-2013, sleep related infant deaths accounted for 16% (836) of all infant deaths reviewed and 46% (746) for infants aged 29 days to one year. Fifty-six percent (471) of sleep-related deaths occurred in locations considered unsafe such as adult beds, on couches or on chairs. Fifty-one percent (425) of these deaths occurred to infants who were sharing a sleep surface with another person (bed sharing).

“Infant mortality is considered a basic measure of public health for countries around the world,“ said Stacy Scott, Ph.D., Executive Director for GISS, who was raised in Toledo and worked in its communities. “We must identify and get rid of the disparities that exist in infant mortality, and work to achieve equity in birth outcomes.

“There are protective measures that all caregivers can take to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related death, and we want to get that message out here in Toledo and throughout the state of Ohio.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents and caregivers follow these guidelines: 

• Babies should always sleep on their backs, at nighttime and naptime. Tummy and side sleeping are not safe.  

• Use a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and a tight-fitting sheet for sleep. Room share with your baby by making sure their crib is placed near your bed for at least the first 6 months.  • Do not share a bed or couch with your baby.  Make sure your baby has its own separate sleep space. Never let your baby sleep on soft surfaces such as adult beds, waterbeds, sofas, chairs, comforters, and sheepskins.  • Keep all soft bedding out of your baby’s crib. This includes loose bedding, stuffed animals, and bumper pads.  • Avoid overheating. Dress your baby like you would dress and keep the room temperature comfortable, not too warm.  • Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care.  • Do not smoke during or after your pregnancy and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.  These put your baby at a greater risk of dying from SIDS.  • Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.  • Breastfeeding is recommended.  • Use a pacifier at naptime and nighttime after breastfeeding has been established.  • Do not use commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS such as wedges

If you would like more information, please contact Karla Coleman at 248.978.3280 or email at kcoleman@gisscenter.org.



Copyright © 2017 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/16/18 14:12:33 -0700.

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