Local News

Infant Health Emphasized

Posted September 21, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— The death of a baby is hard to imagine, but North Carolina's heartbreaking reality is that the state ranks 46th in the nation in infant mortality.

Wake County health workers say half of those deaths could have been prevented. This weekend dozens of county agencies came together for "Family Fun Day," which educates both parents and prospective parents about healthful approaches to pregnancy, delivery and child-raising by sharing a wealth of information.

Programs like Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies help but health care workers say we still have a long way to go in beating infant mortality.

Breaking down the numbers, 50 percent of infant deaths in Wake County could have been prevented with adequate and early intervention because 8 percent of pregnant women say they've used drugs during pregnancy and 15 percent of Wake County infant deaths are linked to smoking.

Laura Oberkircher, with the Healthy Mothers program, said that ideally every pregant or parenting family should have the support and medical services they need so that children can grow up healthy.

This was the seventh year for the "Family Fun Day" at Pullen Park. And, also seven years ago, the state ranked 50th in the incidence of infant mortality.