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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
/articleid/3714965/1/pictures/1847485">Photo - Trevor Heidling
Trevor Heidling

He was almost 8 months old when he was found dead in a bunk bed. The baby was staying the weekend with another adult caregiver who did not have a crib for him to sleep in.

Heidling had been told there was a crib at the home. Trevor died when, during a nap, his head became stuck between the mattress and the bed.

Safe sleeping habits for parents was one of the main topics at the summit Monday.

Many people don't know it's safest to put an infant on their back to sleep, said Julie Dillard, who works at the state Health Department, raising awareness about infant safe sleep and sudden infant death syndrome.

The state Health Department is one of many partners involved in the “Preparing for a Lifetime, It's Everyone's Responsibility” initiative.

The mission of the initiative is to educate residents, health care providers, policymakers and clergy members about infant mortality in Oklahoma.

“We focused very heavily on it being everyone's responsibly,” Dillard said. “It's not just the Health Department that can share these messages. It really takes everyone who's in the community to share with their own community some of these safe messages.”

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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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


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