Infant mortality rate drops in Philly

    In this May 6

    In this May 6

    A new report shows that more babies in Philadelphia than ever are living to celebrate their first birthday.

    Still the city’s infant death rate is higher than the national average.

    Pediatrician Sara Kinsman says when a mother plans her pregnancy, she’s more likely to get prenatal care that can reduce health problems for a fetus.

    Kinsman, who leads Maternal, Child and Family Health at the city health department, said a planned pregnancy also gives a couple more opportunities to prepare to be parents.

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    “Do I have a safe place for that baby to sleep? Do I have the support so if I want to breast feed, I can breastfeed successfully? Those are really, really wonderful, wonderful ways to ensure the safety of the baby,” Kinsman said.

    And infants, she said, should sleep alone.

    “You know they can’t move when they’re below six months,” Kinsman said. “So if they get themselves in a position, they can’t necessarily get themselves out of it. So they need a safe little bed just for babies with nobody else there, and nothing else there.”

    The chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Jefferson University Hospital, Jay Greenspan, said Philadelphia’s success in getting people to quit smoking is also a win for infant health.

    Smoking is bad in a lot of ways, he said.

    “It can cause babies to be born small and a little bit premature, same with drinking. Secondhand smoke as well as primary smoking can cause sudden infant death syndrome,” he said.

    In the latest survey done in 2013, Philadelphia’s infant death rate dropped to about 8 per one thousand births, down from about 10 deaths per thousand births back in 2012.

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