After hearing an emotional plea that families shouldn't have to move from Ohio to make sure their child makes it to his or her first birthday, the Senate unanimously agreed yesterday to set up a uniform data-collection system to find out why the state ranks almost at the bottom nationally on infant mortality.
If action isn’t taken, “how many thousands of babies would die needlessly?” asked Sen. Charleta B. Tavares, a Columbus Democrat who is sponsoring the bill with Cincinnati-area Republican Sen. Shannon Jones.
Jones cited Department of Health testimony earlier yesterday that Ohio might rank last in African-American infant mortality (it’s currently 49th), and the state’s overall ranking could drop from its current 47th place nationally.
She said 42 percent of infant deaths after the first month are sleep-related. While pictures of infants sleeping cuddled with parents are cute for Facebook postings, Ohioans must learn that such arrangements can be deadly, Jones said.
Senate Bill 198 also designates October as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) awareness month.
In a separate matter, the GOP-dominated Senate tabled a Democratic attempt to restore the 12.5 percent of state funding for new property-tax levies that was cut in the state budget.
By Darrel Rowland - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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