Infant mortality is defined as the death of a live-born baby before his or her first birthday.  The leading causes of infant death in Ohio are prematurity-related conditions (e.g., preterm birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy have been completed, low birth weight, respiratory distress syndrome, and neonatal hemorrhage), congenital anomalies/birth defects, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), obstetric conditions (e.g. premature rupture of membranes, incompetent cervix, placental separation and hemorrhage), and external injury (e.g. unintentional injuries, homicide, and injuries of undetermined intent). Sleep-related deaths are included in the SIDS or external injury categories depending on the exact cause of death. “Other Causes” of infant death includes neoplasms (abnormal tissue growth especially as a characteristic of cancer), anemias (blood disorders), infectious colitis (inflammation of the lining of the colon caused by infection), enteritis (inflammation of the intestines, usually the small intestine), gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines), and other conditions not otherwise specified.

Helping every child get a healthy start and effectively combatting infant mortality takes strong efforts from many different corners, which is why the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation, the Ohio Departments of Health, Medicaid, Mental Health and Addiction Services, and other partners at the state and local levels have vigorously pursued a comprehensive range of initiatives to help more babies reach their first birthday. A summary of Ohio’s many initiatives to address infant mortality from 2011-2016, and highlights of new strategies to address infant mortality in 2017 - 2018 are available here.