State public health officials are encouraged by recent statistics indicating a decline in infant mortality rates in Tennessee. The most recent study numbers indicate there were 63 fewer infant deaths in 2009 as compared to 2005. The state’s infant mortality rate of 8.0 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2009 exceeds the national rate of 6.7 deaths per live births.
Many factors contribute to a healthy birth and first year of life. Good health before a woman ever gets pregnant; early prenatal care; avoidance of tobacco and alcohol; high-quality care during labor and delivery, immunizations and other preventive care for the baby. The state says that safe practices for the infant such as riding in a car seat, not being exposed to tobacco and sleeping alone on their back in a crib all help create an environment of health for the child.