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Infant Mortality

Decreasing Infant Deaths, Improving Babies’ Health

By working together with hospitals, nonprofit organizations and state and local agencies, CelebrateOne, Columbus’ collective impact initiative, plans to reduce the infant mortality rate by 40 percent and cut the racial health disparity gap in half by 2020.

Babies born too soon or too small, unsafe sleep practices, smoking, birth defects and social and economic conditions are leading causes of infant mortality.


  • Every week, nearly three babies die before their first birthday in Franklin County.
  • Through Q3 2020, 91 infants died, resulting in an infant mortality rate of 6.9 per 1,000 live births, exceeding the Healthy People 2020 Goal of 6.0.
  • African American infants are 2.7 times more likely to die than white infants.
  • Each year, more than 2,000 babies are born too early.


  • Safe Sleep: Educating new mothers about safe sleep practices before they are discharged from the hospital.
  • Low birth weight infants: Ensuring that mothers at risk of delivering very low birth weight infants (less than 1500 grams) deliver at a facility with higher volumes of VLBW deliveries.
  • Tobacco cessation: Identifying and referring women who smoke tobacco and are pregnant or have delivered a baby to cessation counseling programs.
  • Legal needs: Assessing if pregnant women have legal issues, such as evictions, that can affect health outcomes and referring them to Columbus Legal Aid Society.
  • Early deliveries: Prohibiting early elective deliveries — before 39 weeks gestation — without a medical reason.


Note: In 2018, hospitals went from monthly audits to quarterly audits.
  • A campaign promoting safe sleep practices in hospitals has led to a significant increase in the number of hospital cribs that pass safe sleep audits.
  • In the second quarter of 2020, the percentage of elective early deliveries was well below the national average of 5%.
    • Only 1 of the 397 deliveries were elective in the 2nd quarter of 2020.
  • An increasing number of pregnant women have been referred to the legal Aid Society for assistance with issues such as eviction when can effect birth outcomes.