Heights Libraries addresses the high infant mortality rate with upcoming programs

In Cuyahoga County, babies die at nearly double the national rate. According to Plain Dealer health reporter Brie Zeltner, the causes are the same as the rest of the nation: prematurity, low birth weight, birth defects, and sleep-related deaths. But the rates are much higher for black families than for white families.

Zeltner will moderate a free public forum on infant mortality and race at the Lee Road branch of the Heights Libraries on Wednesday, September 27, at 7 p.m.

Panelists will include Christin Farmer, executive director of Birthing Beautiful Communities; Dr. Arthur R. James of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and interim executive director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity; and Angela Newman White, supervisor, Maternal & Child Health Program, Cuyahoga County Board of Health. The forum will address why infant mortality is so disproportionately high in the black community, and discuss possible solutions.

The contribution of unsafe sleeping habits to infant mortality will be addressed by a program series at the Lee Road branch presented by the nonprofit Babies Need Boxes-Ohio.

Babies Need Boxes-Ohio is an organization that equips families with the tangible resources required for a successful transition to parenthood. Their mission is to provide families with safe sleep education, a safe sleep environment, newborn care essentials to promote self-sufficiency, and interactive items to foster positive parent-child interaction.

Participants can receive a “baby box,” which is a safe sleep space for infants up to 6 months of age that comes filled with a variety of essential childcare products, by attending all three sessions of Baby Box University at the Lee Road branch, 2345 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights.

Baby Care
Saturday, October 7, 11 a.m.
Learn how to read baby’s cues and soothe baby with soothing rituals and songs. During baby’s active state we will share how to engage baby in playful, brain building activities.

Safe Sleep
Saturday, October 14, 11 a.m.
Come listen to the most recent research on how to keep baby safe while sleeping soundly.

Postpartum Health for Mom and Baby
Saturday, October 21, 11 a.m.
After baby is born there are two people to care for, baby and mom. Learn ways to incorporate self-care rituals into your daily routine. Also, come hear best ways to feed baby and how to prepare nutritious snacks for busy families.

More information can be found at www.heightslibrary.org and www.babiesneedboxes.org.