WASHINGTON, DC-- The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions unanimously passed a bill this week that could provide funding to target factors of infant mortality.
September is Infant Mortality Awareness month, and in light of events hosted by local health departments this week, U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) introduced the bipartisan Child Care Infant Mortality Prevention Act.
Hagan and senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) inserted the act into a larger bill--the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act (Senate Bill 1086). Hagan's proposed provisions would allow funding from the block grant to be used for child care provider training in sleep practices. It also would allocate funding for training on first aid and CPR. Hagan's office said the proposal would not add to the current deficit.
Hagan explained her reasoning behind the Child Care Infant Mortality Prevention Act, writing, "As a mother of three, I know parents are concerned first and foremost about the safety of their children, especially when they are left in the care of others."
Hagan's office said a date has not yet been set for when the full Senate will take up the bill. Since it passed with bipartisan support in committee, Hagan's office said it expects the bill will be approved when it is considered by the full Senate.
In recent years, Forsyth County has had the highest infant mortality rate of North Carolina's five most urban counties. New statistics are set to be released by October. Statistics for 2011 to 2012 show in Forsyth County, there were 10 infant deaths per every 1,000 live births. Last year, 46 infants died before their first birthdays. North Carolina's average is 7.2, and Guilford County's is 7.4 (45 infants died before their first birthdays last year). The U.S. ranks 29th worldwide in infant motality rates.
According to the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics, half of the approximately 4,500 SUID cases that occur each year in the U.S. can be prevented with effective training and the implementation of proper infant sleep practices.