The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

July 19, 2013

Improving infant outcomes: Initiative hopes to lower high local mortality rates

ENID, Okla. — Several action proposals have come out so far in the Preparing for a Lifetime initiative, designed to reduce the number of infant deaths in Garfield County.

Statistics show Kay and Garfield counties rank first and second among Oklahoma counties in terms of infant mortality rates. The Preparing for a Lifetime initiative is about changing that picture.

Maggie Jackson, health educator for Garfield County Health Department, provided a list of suggestions that people and organizations can do to help improve infant outcomes in Garfield County.

Individually

• Support a woman’s healthy choices and know that a full-term pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks.

• Refer pregnant women to the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at (800) QUIT NOW. For other resources on quitting smoking, contact Garfield County Tobacco Free Coalition at (580) 213-3168.

• Promote the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline at (877) 271-MILK.

• Know the signs of postpartum depression and get help.

• Give a new mom or family a break by babysitting or running an errand for them.

• Learn and share infant safety practices, such as infant CPR. The next class at Garfield County Health Department is Aug. 6.

• Place baby on his back to sleep and inform all caregivers of infant-safe sleep practices.

Workplace or organization

• Post and distribute Preparing for a Lifetime materials.

• Promote and become a Certified Healthy Community, School, Business, Restaurant or Campus.

• Participate in the March of Dimes “Healthy Baby, Healthy Business” Program.

• Become a breastfeeding friendly worksite or organization.

• Promote the Text4Baby program.

• Encourage dads’ involvement in parenting.

• Provide opportunity for speakers to share about infant health and safety.

Community

• Support the Hope Outreach crib drive to help provide local families with a safe sleeping environment.

• Partner with your church to provide assistance to new families. For example, you can host a community baby shower or mother’s day out for families in need.

• Encourage families to access home visitation resources such as Parents as Teachers and Children First.

• Distribute and promote Preparing for a Lifetime materials.

• Inform all caregivers of infant safe sleep practices.

Go to the Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility webpages at http://iio.health.ok.gov.

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