The Real Reason for U.S. Infant Mortality Rate

I got a chuckle at a recent story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Not because the topic, infant mortality, wasn’t serious, but because the culprit it listed for the troubling statistics was absurd: co-sleeping.

The second-leading cause of infant mortality in Milwaukee is SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, which often results from  “unsafe sleep,“ according to the health department’s website. A form of “unsafe sleep“ is bed-sharing with parents.

“Is it shocking? Is it provocative?“ asked Bevan Baker, the city’s commissioner of health,  according to the Journal Sentinel. “Yes. But what is even more shocking and provocative is that 30 developed and underdeveloped countries have better [infant death] rates than Milwaukee.“

Also, as the article and commenters pointed out, many of the countries ahead of us have the family bed. So what do they have that we don’t have? National health care coverage. I would also add paid maternity leave and paid sick days for mom.

None of this stopped the city from posting anti-co-sleeping ads, in which a baby is sleeping next to a butcher knife. I loved readers’ reaction to this:

Only a really horrible parent would allow a baby to sleep with a knife. My baby sleeps with a 9mm Glock in case any potential intruders are armed. -GTRman1213

PLEASE do not sleep with babies who have giant knives. As shown in the photo, they WILL kill you so they can have the bed all to themselves. -Katie

The last quote reminds me of my husband. He CANNOT get any sleep with the kids so he goes to their bed when they climb into ours. Joking aside, what do you all think of Milwaukee’s anti-co-sleeping ads? Do you co-sleep?

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Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

On Friday, the kids and I met with our local Target store manager to hand him a form provided by MoveOn.org letting him know we would not shop at the store as long as Target donated to political campaigns — especially those with whom we virulently disagreed. About 20 of us showed up at the store. He met with us, shook our hands, let us vent away, and promised to present the forms to upper management.

To Target’s credit, it issued an apology and said it would set up a review process for future political donations, according to CBS News. It also had this to say about California’s Proposition 8 and marriage equality:

Target did not, nor has the company ever, knowingly donated to legislation or referendums that aim to undermine equality for all, including Proposition 8 in California. Further, Target’s support of the GLBT community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company.

That said, I will not shop there until I learn of the outcome of its review process regarding political donations. Corporations are not people who should be allowed to funnel unlimited sums of money to buy elections. Publicly funded campaigns, anyone?

In case you missed it, a bill that is supposed to save nearly 140,000 teaching jobs and provide extra aid in healthcare for poor families during the recession, just passed 61-38 in the Senate, according to UPI.com. Moderate Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine voted for the bill, overcoming a potential filibuster by the Republicans.

Here is a freaky story in Wired about how violent dreams, especially in males, can predict neurological disorders like Parkinson’s 50 years down the line.

Once again, Laurie Puhn over at the Expecting Words blog had a poignant list of what constitutes a healthy relationship.

Infant mortality is up in Washington D.C., according to the DC Action For Children blog.

Wheat bread surpassed white bread in dollar sales this year, according to the Consumerist.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Infant Mortality and Race

I came across a thought-provoking and alarming diary on Daily Kos this morning, Infant mortality, race, and myths, comparing CDC statistics for American infant mortality between white and black babies, controlled for the education status of the mother:

                Infant mortality rates (deaths per 1000 live births)
Maternal years of education          White       Black
    0-8                                         6.3           13.4
    9-11                                        8.0           14.6
     12                                         6.1           13.2
   13-15                                        4.8           11.7
     16+                                        3.8           10.6

Certainly I realized that poorer babies were at greater risk for death, and the reasons seem mostly obvious: less access to health care, poorer nutrition, more pollution, more stress, fewer resources. But to see such a high infant death rate even for highly educated black women is heartbreaking.

I couldn’t locate the study, but I remember, in the dusty corners of my mind, someone correlating infant mortality statistics to the previous generation – ie, that you could correlate infant health factors with socioeconomic status of their grandparents when the parents were born. Perhaps this is what is happening here. I don’t know, but I hope someone is working on some solutions.

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