Baltimore Officials Work To Lower City Infant Mortality Rate

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Breaking Baltimore’s high infant mortality rate. The city has a new campaign designed to clear the air for babies and pregnant women.

Gigi Barnett explains.

Baltimore’s infant mortality rate remains stubbornly high, especially among African-American infants. Doctors say cigarette smoke is part of the problem.

“It’s bad for the person who does it, it’s bad for the growing baby, it’s bad for the babies around them,” said Dr. Himani Shishodia. “It’s bad for everybody.”

This week, the city’s Health Department unveiled a new campaign called Bmore For Healthy Babies. It’s targeted at smokers, asking them to step away when they light up.

“We want smoke-free environments for pregnant women and their babies,” said City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “They’re common acts of courtesy.”

Some smokers are on board.

“Just go ahead and take a walk and chill and smoke your cigarette,” said smoker Nathaniel Knox. “Maybe drink a coffee.”

Last year, the city launched a similar campaign focused on a safe sleeping environment for babies. Health workers saw a 40 percent drop in the number of babies and toddlers who died from sleep-related deaths like SIDS.

“While we are cautiously optimistic that this drop is something that will be sustained, we are very confident that the efforts that we’re doing are starting to pay off,” Barbot said.

Bmore For Healthy Babies is a year-long campaign that’s also helped obese mothers lose weight, as well as boosted the number of house visits by doctors.

Last month, the Bmore For Healthy Babies campaign received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

More from Gigi Barnett
  • Barbara Morgan Homberg

    While not having babies and preg. moms around people who are smoking may help. But what about the infants of moms who don’t smoke, don’t allow smoking in their homes or cars, yet still have babies that have the SAME SYMPTOMS. That right there proves it’s not so much whether they are exposed to smoke, but rather it must be something to do with the air we all breath! I’ve quit smoking 8 months ago, but I have a 6 1/2 yr old, a 3 1/2 yr old and an 18 months old grandsons who live with me (along with their mom, my Daughter). We stopped smoking in the house about 4 1/2 years ago, and my Daughter doesn’t smoke. Yet the oldest doesn’t have any more colds or health issues as the younger ones.
    I think this anti smoking thing is blown way out of content. We need to focus more on these factories, older cars and general air pollution then just smoking.

  • po po po

    another 1.5 million taxpayers money for the city

  • sheriff

    Barbara Morgan Honberg, You’re kidding of course. I think you continue to smoke & it’s weed in your thinking.Fact: people who smoke die on average 8yrs sooner than others. Have you ever seen a loved one dying of lung cancer or brain cancer due to smoking? It isn’t pretty. Not to mention all the other disabling diseases you get in the mentime. You quit 8 months ago? Big deal I quit forty three years ago. Bet if you’re over forty you have damage.

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