Study: Stunning Infant Death Statistics

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MILWAUKEE - In a study released Monday afternoon, city health leaders revealed stunning new statistics about the number of babies who die in Milwaukee. 

From 2005 until 2008, there were 807 baby deaths.  Of those, 499 died within the first year of being born and 308 were still births. 

Health leaders also say the study shows a surprising trend: 85% of the babies who died were African-American.  "With the African-Americans in the highest tier, their infant mortality is as high or higher than comparable whites," said Mayor Tom Barrett. "We have to find a way to deal with these issues."  In fact, the study found African-American babies were three times more likely to die than white babies.

Mayor Barrett announced a summit on May 11, 2011 to deal with the issue.   Milwaukee Health Department leaders said reducing the number of infant deaths is going to be the most important issue for the department over the next few years. 

 The study suggests a list of steps that should be taken to reduce the number of baby deaths.  For example, the city plans to educate mothers to stop smoking.  Also, the city plans to focus on convincing people not to sleep in the same bed with their infant children. 

After a news conference announcing the study results, Mayor Barrett made a plea to the community.  "I want people who come in contact with a young woman who is pregnant to to say 'have you been to a healthcare provider'?"  "If they haven't been to a healthcare provider, we want them to help that young lady get to a healthcare provider,"  Barrett said.