September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month, and BRIDGES is encouraging everyone to get involved in helping to reduce the number of infants that die each year.

The leading causes of infant mortality are birth defects, preterm birth, low birth weight, and SIDS. Fortunately, of course, most newborns grow and thrive. The U.S. has experienced an all-time low infant mortality rate, but we still ranks 27th among industrialized nations.

Here in Palm Beach County, we have worked hard to reduce infant deaths and racial disparities.

Our partner, Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, has funded efforts that make sure that expecting families have access to health care and supportive services through a network of providers, including: Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, local Healthy Start Coalition, Florida Department of Health’s Palm Beach County office, the county’s Youth Services Department, March of Dimes, and Sickle Cell Foundation.

As a result, the mortality rate for black infants — 6.0 — is at a 20-year low. And our county is doing better at reducing that rate than the state, and all other urban Florida counties, according to Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.

We all need to be involved in this effort. Click here to read the steps families with infants can take to keep their children safe.

The death of a baby is a devastating reality for any family. Our community has come a long way to reduce the infant mortality rate. Let’s continue doing everything we can to lower the rate even further and, one day, eliminate it completely.

(Image: Population Research Institute)