28 Ways You Can Help Prevent Infant Death

prevent infant death.pngSeptember is Infant Mortality Awareness Month -- a time to raise awareness and educate parents and caregivers on practices that help all children reach their first birthday. It's not always possible to prevent or correct the reasons why some babies die in their first year, but there are many proven ways you can reduce your risks

Key Tips for Preventing Infant Deaths


Birth Defects

Start: taking daily folic acid

Stop: drinking, smoking, using drugs

Consider: prescription medication use -- find out which are safe during pregnancy

Watch: your risk of infections and exposure to dangerous environmental toxins

Learn more, get support: obesity is associated with an increased risk of birth defects; find a size-friendly provider to learn how to have a healthy pregnancy at any size


Preterm Labor and Premature Birth

Learn: the signs of preterm labor, and how to seek care

Know: your personal and/or genetic risk factors for premature birth

Stop: smoking, drinking, using drugs

Reduce: stress

Consider: your weight -- over or under can increase your risk

Watch: your risk of infections and exposure to dangerous environmental toxins

Treat: chronic health conditions


Prenatal Care

Start: before pregnancy with good, healthy pre-pregnancy/preconception care and habits

Don't: skip appointments

Learn: about prenatal care options for everyone, whether you have health insurance, Medicaid, or are uninsured

Do: bring a loved one to your appointments for support and company

Ask: your OB or midwife about reducing your personal risk of infant death


Safe Infant Sleep

Do: place baby on his/her back to sleep, every time

Don't: place any soft objects in baby's sleep area/crib, including fluffy or any loose bedding/blankets, pillows, soft toys or stuffed animals, and crib bumpers

Learn: as much as you can about safe infant sleep

Consider: breastfeeding to reduce your baby's risk of SIDS, and provide other health benefits

Use: a firm, flat sleep surface for baby

Stop: smoking during pregnancy, and smoking/allowing smoking around baby

Share: your room with baby, keeping baby close by but on a separate surface for sleep

Avoid: sleep positioners or products that claim to reduce SIDS 

Visit: your child's pediatrician for regular, routine visits during the first year


Newborn Screening

Learn: late in your third trimester, talk to your OB or midwife about newborn screening after birth 

Do: follow up with your care providers about the results from your child's newborn screening 

Seek: any treatment/care recommended to address your child's diagnosis


Infant mortality is a scary and real danger for families around the world. The more you can learn about prevention and healthy care, the more you can increase the likelihood of a healthy and safe infant and baby throughout the first year!

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