The Florida Healthy Babies (FHB) Initiative is a state-wide effort of the Florida Department of Health to address infant mortality at the county level. While infant mortality rate in Pinellas County has seen a general decline in the past decade, the black-white infant mortality gap is still at 2.4 per 1,000 live births, meaning black infants are nearly two and a half times more likely to die before their first birthday than white infants in Pinellas.
This racial disparity is also reflected in protective factors such as breastfeeding, with black mothers initiating breastfeeding 20% less than white mothers in Pinellas from 2014-2016.
While overall infant mortality has seen a decline, sleep-related infant deaths in Pinellas are on the rise, with more than 10 infant deaths in 2017 resulting from unsafe sleep. For this reason, the FHB Initiative in Pinellas County also seeks to educate families on putting their infants to sleep safely by sharing the room, not the bed, and always following the ABC’s of placing baby Alone, on Back and in a Crib.
With a strong focus on health equity when it comes to breastfeeding, safe sleep and improved access to resources, the FHB Initiative in Pinellas aims to significantly reduce infant deaths, close the black-white infant mortality gap, and improve health outcomes for all babies in Pinellas County.
Thanks to a collaboration with the Tampa Bay Breastfeeding Task Force-Pinellas Chapter, the Juvenile Welfare Board’s “Preventable Deaths” Campaign, and the support of numerous partners, the Florida Healthy Babies Initiative in Pinellas County has been able to make great strides in achieving its goals!
- 2 new hospitals receiving the “Baby Friendly” designation for support of breastfeeding
- 7 new childcare centers receiving awards as “Breastfeeding Friendly”
- 9 Employers receiving Gold Level designation as a “Breastfeeding Friendly Employer”
- 120+ childcare facilities and home childcares trained on the importance of breastfeeding
- 250+ physicians and nurses trained on breastfeeding and safe sleep
- 420+ trainings conducted throughout the county on the importance of infant safe sleep
- 6% increase in the number of breastfed infants since 2015
- 20% increase in access of infant-related resources through Tampa Bay 2-1-1
- 30% increase in access of lactation resources posted on the DOH-Pinellas website
- 50% increase in lactation referrals through the Department of Health home visiting programs
- 14,000 magnets distributed throughout Pinellas to promote free lactation support hotline
- 10,000 “Tampa Bay Baby” Magazines distributed throughout Pinellas featuring important education on breastfeeding and safe sleep
These strategies and activities (among others) are developed and planned with the help of community partners and members at meetings held quarterly in Pinellas County.
If you are interested in getting involved or attending a meeting, please contact: Samantha Staley at 727-824-6900