Unsafe sleep habits, cigarette smoke and maternal health are the leading causes of death for infants in St. Joseph county according to case studies by the county’s health department. The studies are part of an effort to address and lower infant death rates.
The Fetal-Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) is part of a nation-wide effort to review and address the causes of infant deaths.
The Health Department’s FIMR team studied the cases individually and came up with five recommendations to tackle the causes of infant deaths in the county.
Most of the recommendations center around education and community outreach. Sally Dixon is the FIMR coordinator in St. Joseph County. She said part of the education for safe sleep is helping people realize it can happen to anyone.
“People think it won’t happen to me. Oh, it’s always someone who’s been doing drugs or something, and that really isn’t the case in our cases. It’s people from all different walks of life who love their babies”
Dixon said they’re also working to connect families with community resources and home visit programs, improve the health of mothers, and to address racial disparities in infant death.