Frye: Indiana's Infant Mortality Rate Falls, Again

Monday, October 12, 2020 at 9:44 AM

By State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg), column

Indiana's infant mortality rate dropped from 6.8 in 2018 to 6.5 in 2019.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) - As a state, we worked hard to provide more tools for mothers and improved care for infants who deserve the best chance at a healthy life. We are seeing the results of these actions, with Indiana's infant mortality rate falling to the lowest level in state recorded history, marking the third year of decline. Indiana is stepping up and investing in critical resources to keep moms and babies healthy before, during and after birth so more families can celebrate first birthdays.

To better the health of both moms and their babies, I supported a 2019 law connecting expectant and new mothers to early prenatal care, addiction treatment, wrap-around services and home-visit programs. This program, known as My Healthy Baby, also connects mothers with resources and support throughout the baby's first year.

The program is implemented in 20 counties so far, with 25 other counties expected to be added next year. My Healthy Baby provides expectant mothers access to critical care and support they need during every step of their pregnancy.

Other steps to improve infant and maternal health include verbal screenings for substance use disorders for all pregnant women so they can receive services that improve their health along with their babies' health. Our state also developed a Levels of Care system for birthing hospitals to ensure women deliver their babies at a facility that best meets their needs.

Additionally, I am working on legislation ahead of the 2021 legislative session to help increase the number of Safe Haven Baby Boxes across Indiana. Under state law, a person can anonymously leave an infant without fear of arrest or prosecution, as long as there are no signs of intentional abuse, and no information is required of the person leaving the baby. Baby boxes are placed outside of fire stations or hospitals, and when opened, an alarm system notifies nearby staff when a newborn is placed inside. They are temperature controlled to ensure the baby is kept safe from the elements. First responders are then able to rescue the baby and provide critical care. Baby boxes can cost around $10,000 to install, and I want to work to make these safe havens more available to help protect and save more babies.

While Indiana struggled in the past with high infant mortality rates, we made significant progress in prioritizing the health of Hoosier mothers and infants, with the infant mortality rate dropping from 6.8 in 2018 to 6.5 in 2019. We will continue to work toward improving the health of expectant mothers and babies to help more families celebrate first birthdays. For expectant women and new mothers needing support in our area, Pregnancy Care Center of Southeast Indiana offers a variety of resources and programs. Visit to learn more. To find other local resources available, you can call the MOMS Helpline at 1-844-MCH-MOMS (1-844-624-6667).


Gov. Holcomb: Indiana's Infant Mortality Rate Falls To Historic Low

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