Doctor: ABC’s of infant sleeping key to their safety

People in the Mahoning Valley joined together Friday to help educate parents on safe sleeping habits for infants

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Considering the high infant mortality rate in Ohio, people in the Mahoning Valley joined together Friday to help educate parents on safe sleeping habits for infants.

Parents learned the ABC’s of infants sleeping safety.

“It’s not one that’s practiced by most new moms,” said Elena Rossi of Akron Children’s Hospital.

It stands for the way an infant should sleep:

  • A — alone
  • B — on their back
  • C — in a crib

“It’s probably the most important message we want people to leave here today with,” Dr. Stacy Scott said.

Sleep-related deaths are one of the top causes of infant mortality.

Nationally, the infant mortality rate has gone down by 15 percent in the last nine years. But Ohio is still one of the worst, ranking 44th.

“Because some of our communities have such a high rate, there’s been a lot of initiative and effort put into those communities, like Mahoning County,” said Michelle Edison of Mahoning County Pathways.

“We know Ohio’s infant mortality rate is high,” Rossi said. “But there’s also a known significant racial disparity.”

In 2015, the number of African American infant deaths was nearly triple that of white children.

Dr. Scott says the best way, in general, to combat the infant mortality problem is continuing education.

“I’ve seen marriages break up, I’ve seen women go on drugs or alcohol,” she said. “It’s very important to educate the community and actually ask the community to help get the word out.”