Infant mortality is defined as the death of a live-born baby before his or her first birthday. An infant mortality rate is the number of babies who died during the first year of life per 1,000 live births. In 2018, 938 Ohio infants died before their first birthday, meaning the state's infant mortality rate for all races was 6.9. Ohio’s target is to achieve 6.0 or fewer infant deaths per 1,000 live births in every racial and ethnic group, which is the national Healthy People 2020 objective.
Ohio’s black infant mortality rate of 13.9 in 2018 remained well above the Healthy People 2020 objective. Black infants in Ohio died at nearly three times the rate of white infants. Ohio’s white infant mortality rate of 5.4 in 2018 was better than the Healthy People 2020 objective.
The leading causes of infant death in Ohio are prematurity-related conditions (e.g., preterm birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy has been reached, 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), perinatal and other infections, 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 include 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.
Cause of Ohio Infant Deaths (2018)
Helping every child get a healthy start and effectively combating 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. Visit the Ohio Collaborative to Prevent Infant Morality site for a summary of Ohio’s many initiatives to address infant mortality.