You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Bill aims to raise awareness about SIDS

With one of the worst infant-mortality rates in the nation, Ohio is looking to change the trend by raising awareness.

The General Assembly will raise awareness of unexpected infant deaths by designating October as “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month” and to encourage use of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation reporting form whenever a child 1 year or younger dies suddenly when in otherwise apparent good health.

The Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 198 unanimously on Oct. 16 by way of a 29-0 vote (four Senators did not cast a vote). The Ohio House will entertain the legislation, which has been assigned to the Health and Aging Committee chaired by Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon. The committee will hear next week from the two senators who are sponsoring the Senate bill, Columbus Democrat Sen. Charleta Tavares and Springboro Republican Shannon Jones.

Jones, who chairs the Medicaid, Health & Human Services Committee, has never been directly impacted by SIDS or a sudden unexpected infant death but took up the cause because of Ohio’s “abysmal” infant mortality rate. She said she wanted to be a champion and voice for the babies that die before they get a chance to live as many of these deaths, Jones said, are preventable with education.

More than 1,000 babies die every year before their first birthday, which ranks the state as one of the worst, 47th, in infant mortality, Jones said.

“These sudden unexpected deaths account for 15 percent of deaths of babies from birth to 1 year of age,” she said. “We can do something about it. It definitely changes the families forever.”

By improving the national reporting, Tavares said with using improved data to monitor trends and identify those at-risk reducing sudden unexpected infant deaths is a realistic goal. She said SB 198 is the “initial step” in responding to the alarming statistics.

“As we work to improve our investigations, reporting and data collection of infant deaths, it is even more important for us to look at why our African-American babies are dying at 2-½ to three times the rate of our Caucasian babies,” said Tavares, who said Ohio ranks 49th in the country in sudden unexplained infant deaths in the African-American community. “We have an opportunity to look at consistent data to develop and expand strategies to eliminate these unacceptable disparities and prevent infant deaths among all of our babies, stated Senator Tavares.”

Jones held several Medicaid, Health & Human Services Committee meetings in six Ohio cities earlier this year to better understand local efforts to combat Ohio’s infant mortality rate and to look for ways to strengthen these efforts through statewide policy. The cities visited include Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, Lima, Columbus and Cleveland.

While on this tour of Ohio, Jones had a chance to speak with parents impacted by SIDS and sudden unexpected infant deaths.

“I really have been struck and motivated in many respects by the profound courage that many over these families have to come and tell their stories simply they want to do something better and want to prevent this from happening to other families out there,” Jones said.

According to the 2012 Ohio Child Fatality Review Report, there are 7.7 deaths per 1,000 live births, and if all sleep-related deaths were prevented, the Ohio infant mortality rate for 2010 would have been reduced from 6.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.

“We know more but we have to reeducate people about it,” Jones said. “As we toured the state we learned a lot from parents who have been impacted by it. These parents who have left a lasting impact on me because they understand that education is the most important thing and they learned, perhaps too late, sleep is.”

Jenny Bailer, a registered nurse and nursing director with the Butler County Health Department, commends the senator’s efforts to raise awareness in infant mortality. She said elevating sudden unexpected infant death awareness and infant mortality “is critically important.”

“SIDS is a significant problem in Butler County,” she said. “We’ve recently received some analysis of our infant deaths for the last few years and SIDS rose to the top as a cause of infant deaths.”

Bailer said data from that report, which is from Butler County Partnership to Reduce Infant Mortality, is not yet available for release as the department is still evaluating and analyzing it. Information from that data is expected to be available by the first of the year, she said.

Bailer agreed with Jones that education is key, and that means telling parents and those who watch babies that they “like to sleep on their back, alone and in a crib.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in News

'Saturday Night Live' writer suspended for Barron Trump tweet
'Saturday Night Live' writer suspended for Barron Trump tweet

Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on one thing about criticizing the President Donald Trump's family: Leave the kids out of it. That especially goes for Barron Trump, who is 10 years old.  Last week, a writer from “Saturday Night Live” joked that Barron would kill his family. Now, NBC has announced consequences for Katie...
Felon admits to running illegal drug ring from prison
Felon admits to running illegal drug ring from prison

Authorities said a Georgia man could face up to 40 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to running a multistate drug trafficking operation from prison, using cellphones and drones.  Daniel Roger Alo, 46, pleaded guilty Monday to drug and weapons charges, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Edward Tarver said. Alo was serving...
Watch: Dog appears to dance to music at groomer
Watch: Dog appears to dance to music at groomer

An Orlando pet salon uploaded a video to its Facebook page of an adorable dog that appears to dance to salsa music. In the brief clip, uploaded Jan. 12, the dog can be seen rising to its hind legs and dancing around to "Conga" by the Miami Sound Machine. It's famously led by singer Gloria Estefan.  When you had such a fun time at...
Woman's dog saves her from would-be attacker in broad daylight
Woman's dog saves her from would-be attacker in broad daylight

One woman has her 10-month-old puppy to thank after a man tried to attack her while she was on a trail in a Houston suburb. Catalina Humphrey told KTRK a man grabbed her from behind when she was walking her Rottweiler, Hercules, on Saturday afternoon. "I didn't have a purse on me. I just had my workout gear on," Humphrey told KHOU. "...
'A Dog's Purpose' video fallout: movie producer, animal supplier speak out
'A Dog's Purpose' video fallout: movie producer, animal supplier speak out

"A Dog's Purpose" is set to premiere Jan. 27, but it is still battling publicity surrounding a controversial video that was obtained and posted by TMZ last week. The video shows a 2-year-old German shepherd named Hercules struggling with a person who appears to be a trainer as rough waves churned in a pool. Producers of the film initially...
More Stories