infant mortality

The local infant mortality rate is still unacceptably high, but more babies are surviving to their first birthday in Cincinnati than in previous years. The Cincinnati Health Department is working to continue that trend, sponsoring a series of discussions for would-be, expectant and young mothers, and fathers, about family planning, healthy moms and babies. 

Angie Lipscomb Photography

While the local infant mortality rate is still unacceptably high, far higher than the national rate, there have been recent signs of significant improvement. More babies are surviving to their first birthday in Cincinnati than in previous years, a milestone acknowledged earlier this summer at the Cincinnati Health Department’s Infant Vitality Forum. 

Cradle Cincinnati / Provided

Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are 44 percent more likely to die before their first birthday, according to Cradle Cincinnati. The group wants to do something about that.

Cincinnati Magazine
Jeremy Kramer

  When it comes to infant mortality rates, Hamilton County and Cincinnati are among the worst in the nation. Between 2009 and 2013, the national average was a little over six deaths per thousand in the first year of life. For Hamilton County it was 9.9 and for the city of Cincinnati, even worse at 12.4 deaths, twice the national figure. / Cradle Cincinnati

Cradle Cincinnati says 96 babies born in Hamilton County in 2014 died before their first birthdays. 

While that's still above the national average, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune says there is a positive note.

"While 96 deaths is too many," says Portune, "this is an improvement and a lower rate than our rate for 2013. And that rate of deaths per 1,000 live births is an all-time low for Hamilton County."

The 2014 rate was 8.78 deaths per 1,000 live births. The 2013 rate was 8.84.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

In its efforts to lower Hamilton County's high infant mortality rate, Cradle Cincinnati is adding up the cost of preterm births.

A study by UC's Economics Center finds preterm births cost more than $400 million each year.

County Commissioner and Cradle Cincinnati co-chair Todd Portune says "if you laid a dollar bill side-by-side, $402 million is represented by those dollars, collectively, covering the entire acreage of Lunken Airport."

The study breaks the dollars down three ways:

Jay Hanselman

Cradle Cincinnati is announcing a couple new partnerships in an effort to prevent sleep-related infant deaths.  It is called the “Cribs for Kids” program.  

One of those involves the United Way's 211 line.  It connects people with community resources.  

Hamilton County Commissioner and Cradle Cincinnati co-chairman Todd Portune said it will help get baby cribs to parents who need them.


Children's Hospital will use a five-year, $3.5 million grant in its bid to reduce Cincinnati's high infant mortality rate.

The money is part of a Health Start grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It will be used to create a neighborhood-based team that will find women in need of medical services and then connect them to those services. Follow up care with home visits and social service agencies will also be included.

NOTE: This show originally aired May 6, 2014