Panel Looks At Infant Mortality Solutions

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A panel studying Ohio’s infant mortality problem is recommending that state lawmakers increase the tobacco tax and boost the tobacco-buying age to 21.

The ideas were among dozens of recommendations included in a report that leaders of the Ohio Commission on Infant Mortality released Tuesday at a Statehouse news conference.

The commission’s other recommendations include banning the sale of crib bumpers, more frequent data sharing among agencies and improved cultural competency among health care providers.

Ohio’s infant mortality rate has been among the worst in the nation. Infant mortality is measured as deaths of live-born babies before their first birthdays. The three leading causes in Ohio are prematurity or pre-term births, sleep-related deaths and birth defects.

The state’s infant mortality rate for 2014 was 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.