Oklahoma ranks No. 44 in infant mortality

Babies born in Oklahoma have less of a chance than in most states of making it to their first birthday. On Monday, health officials at the Oklahoma Leadership Summit on Infant Mortality focused on how they can work together to help Oklahoma's children.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: October 2, 2012
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Anytime Trevor was upset, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” usually did the trick.

Melinda Heidling remembers her infant son as a happy baby who loved to play peek-a-boo.

Memories are all Heidling has left of her only son.

On Monday, Heidling shared her story of losing Trevor with a group of health and child welfare workers at the Oklahoma Leadership Summit on Infant Mortality.

One of the messages Heidling shared for parents who have lost a child — it's OK to talk about it.

“It's OK to let other people know what you've learned the hard way,” she said.

“Having Trevor die from unsafe sleep is kind of embarrassing because — babies should not die like that. That should not be a reason for them to pass away. If you're embarrassed by it, you wouldn't want other people to be, too. Talk about it when it happens. Be open and honest about it when it happens.”

Oklahoma ranked 44

In 2009, Oklahoma ranked No. 44 in the U.S. in infant mortality, the death of a baby less than 1 year old, according to the state Health Department. Each year, about 400 babies in Oklahoma die before their first birthday, according to the Health Department.

Trevor was born Aug. 18, 2009 and died April 9, 2010.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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More information

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Anyone interested in learning more about infant mortality or the Preparing for a Lifetime initiative can go to the state Health Department's website at www.ok.gov/health/.

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