Lawmaker pushes for SIDS Awareness Month in Ohio

Sen. Shannon Jones, R–Springboro, testified in the Statehouse on Wednesday, Oct. 9, about Senate Bill 198, a bipartisan bill she has co-sponsored with Sen. Charleta Tavares, D–Columbus, that would designate each October in Ohio as “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month.”

“When you look at the stats, you see that the United States trails most other developed nations in infant mortality and Ohio is bringing up the rear among the 50 states,” said Jones. “It’s a problem that is unacceptable, and Ohio babies deserve better.”

According to the senator, who represents Warren County and parts of Hamilton and Butler counties, more than 1,000 babies in Ohio die each year before their first birthdays. That places the Buckeye State 47th out of 50 states in infant mortality, she said.

The 2012 Ohio Child Fatality Review report cites that out of more than 1,000 infant deaths that were reviewed in 2010, 148 were sleep-related deaths. The Ohio CFR was established by the Ohio General Assembly in 2000 and the law mandates CFR boards in each county review all deaths of children.

According to the Ohio CFR report, the largest number of initiatives deal with reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, and other sleep-related deaths.

The report cites that more than three Ohio infant deaths each week are sleep-related, and if they were all prevented the state’s infant mortality rate would have dropped from 7.7 to 6.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.

The bill also encourages coroners and other designated officials to complete the Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation (SUIDI) reporting form for every death that occurs before a child turns 1 year old.

The bill, which has been assigned to the Medicaid, Health & Human Services Committee in the Senate, was introduced Oct. 1.

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