ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s infant mortality rate has been at a record low for two years straight.

Gov. Martin O’Malley announced on Wednesday that the infant mortality rate was 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010 and 2011.

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O’Malley attributes the decline to an expansion of health care access to young women and parents. He also says safer sleep practices have played a role.

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However, the O’Malley administration notes that disparities in infant mortality continue to persist. Infant deaths occurred three times more frequently among black infants than among white infants in 2011.

The state also says infant mortality rates have remained high on the Eastern Shore, compared to other areas of the state.

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