Posted June 15, 2020 in Articles
Author: Julie Washington, cleveland.com
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Infants and toddlers of color are more likely to be born prematurely, have low birth weight and live in challenging environments, according to a recent national report.
The State of Babies Yearbook: 2020, compiled by the early childhood nonprofit organization Zero to Three, shows that systemic racism and social injustices adversely affect communities of color. Major inequities begin before birth, especially for African-American children, says the Washington, D.C.-based organization.
The report, which examined data for children ages 0 to 3, looked at 60 indicators of good health, strong families and positive early learning experiences. It found that on average, six in 1,000 American babies will not survive to see their first birthday. Mortality is more than twice as high for African-American infants as it is for white babies.
“Our nation has been complacent for too long and has looked the other way when black and brown families have struggled,” said Zero to Three chief policy officer Myra Jones-Taylor. “But our babies deserve more than what we’re giving them — they deserve the same opportunities as any other child.”
How Ohio Ranks
Zero to Three’s report, put every state into one of four ranked tiers. Ohio was placed in the second-highest tier in terms of health, strong families and early learning experiences.
Ohio was close to the national average in the percentage of uninsured low-income infants and toddlers, babies with low birthweight, late or no prenatal care and pre-term births, the report found. But the percentage of African-American and Hispanic infants and toddlers living in poverty were higher than the national average.
First Year Cleveland, the city-county infant mortality initiative, also acknowledges that racism contributes to disparities in health care for African-American and Hispanic women, said Katrice Cain, racial disparities and health equity program director for First Year Cleveland.
“Every baby should have the opportunity to survive and thrive,” Cain said. “It starts with the village surrounding them.”
Cuyahoga County numbers
Cuyahoga County’s infant mortality rate fell from 8.65 in 2018 to 8.48 last year, according to 2019 data released by First Year Cleveland in March 2020. Cuyahoga County had the second highest infant mortality rate of large Ohio counties in 2018.
The state’s closely watched infant mortality rate has been slowly declining for the past decade, according to statistics released early this year by the Ohio Department of Health. But the rate of infant death among African-American babies was still high.
In Ohio, 938 infants died before reaching a first birthday in 2018, down from 982 the year before. The state’s rate of infant death, calculated by the number of deaths among live-born babies per 1,000 births, was 6.9 in 2018.
Adequate child care is important, especially since many day care centers may go out of business because of the COVID-19 shutdown. Paid family leave should be available to all families, Jones-Taylor said.
“That’s a critical time for parents and infants to bond,” she said.
Most of the data used in the Zero to Three study were for 2017-2018, although some was for 2016, the organization said. The numbers were gathered from federal sources in fall 2019, and were the latest data available.The cost of child care claims about 46% of a single parent’s income in Ohio, Zero to Three said.
The cost of child care claims about 46% of a single parent’s income in Ohio, Zero to Three said.
Original Article: View Online