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  and cut the racial health disparity gap.

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

Challenges
  • Every week, nearly three babies die before their first birthday in Franklin County.
  • In 2023, 119 Franklin County infants died before their first birthday resulting in an infant mortality rate of 7.0 per 1,000 live births. In 2022, 139 infants died before their first birthday, resulting in an infant mortality rate of 8.0 per 1,000 live births.
  • In 2023, Non-Hispanic, Black infants were 4.1 times more likely to die than Non-Hispanic, White infants, up from 2.5 in 2022.
  • Prematurity (birth before 37 weeks) and related conditions caused 29% of Franklin County infant deaths in 2023.
  • Each year, more than 2,000 babies in Franklin County are born too early.
Initiatives
  • Franklin County hospitals are committed to showing parents an educational video before discharge, highlighting the elements of a safe home sleep environment, the importance of not smoking in the house, and tips for soothing a crying baby.
  • 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.
  • Opiate prescriptions: Reducing the amount of opiates prescribed to women undergoing a cesarean section.
Progress
  • In 2023, Franklin County hospitals referred 300 pregnant women to the Columbus Legal Aid Society, as compared to 425 in 2022 and 450 in 2021. The goal of the Medical Legal Partnership program is to assist pregnant women in resolving legal issues to encourage a healthy birth outcome.
  • In 2023, Franklin County hospitals referred 269 pregnant women to Columbus Public Health for tobacco cessation counseling. In 2022, Franklin County hospitals referred 256 pregnant women.
  • In 2023, 88% of parents reported that they viewed an educational video before being discharged from a maternity unit.  The video provides education on safe sleep, breastfeeding and in-home tobacco use.

Learn more about our initiatives