Health Officials, Governor Discuss Washington's Infant Mortality Rate

Feb 7, 2019

Governor Jay Inslee met with Health officials Thursday to discuss infant mortality and disproportionately high rates of infant deaths among Washington's African American and Native American populations.
Credit TVW / TVW

According to Washington State’s Department of Health, one infant dies almost every day in the state. Major causes include sudden unexplained infant death, low birthweight and premature birth.

And state health officials say the number of kids who die before the age of one is consistently higher among Native Americans and African Americans compared to any other race.

Officials from across the state met Thursday to discuss infant mortality as part of Governor Jay Inslee’s Results Washington Initiative.

“Probably everything we do to increase survival rates also increases the ability of kids to succeed throughout their lives, academically, vocationally, socially,” said Inslee. “So whatever we are doing here is much more about simply survival, it’s about thriving.”

Improved health care, including home nurse visits as well as decreased tobacco and substance use and support for breastfeeding were all among the recommendations leaders made to help decrease infant deaths.

But things aren’t all bad for babies in Washington. The infant mortality rate in the Evergreen State is the fifth lowest in the nation and remains below the national average.