JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Infant mortality rates reached an all-time low last year in Mississippi, health experts say.
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, the rate dropped to 8.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.
MSDH said one factor that has contributed to the decline is ensuring that babies sleep in safe environments, on their backs, and in cribs.
Health officials said between 2005 and 2014, they have seen a downward trend in the state’s infant mortality rate. They said there was a 15 percent decrease from 2013 to 2014. Since 2005, health officials said the rate went down 28 percent.
MSDH said a disproportionate number of black infants still die in Mississippi annually.
The 2014 black mortality rate was 11.2 per 1,000 births versus the white mortality rate of 5.9.
“Mississippi continues to have one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the United States,” said State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier. “Thanks in part to special funding provided by the state legislature, Mississippi is doing more than ever to address the issue of infant mortality by working with partners to reduce preterm births, eliminate tobacco use by and around pregnant women, and prevent sleep-related deaths.”