Baltimore’s trying, but babies are still dying

A child looks out the window of the Knox Presbyterian Church in Greenmount East, Baltimore, one of three high-risk areas targeted in the B'More for Healthy Babies initiative. A town hall meeting was scheduled to take place at the church to inform the community of results from focus groups, but no one attended. Photo by Lauren Slavin.

Decades of unsuccessful attempts to change the stagnant rates of infant mortality in Baltimore may continue despite the efforts of B’More for Healthy Babies, an initiative started by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to keep babies and their families safe and healthy.

Conflict in the Crib takes an in-depth look the three-part initiative to determine if the program matches its claim of progress without statistical support and if the parents of Baltimore infants are living what the program has been campaigning the last year.


A child eats a free meal at Greenmount's Knox Presbyterian Church, who offers food to the community every Friday. Photo by Lauren Slavin.
In its first year, B’More for Healthy Babies focused on reducing unsafe sleep practices in Druid Heights. Difficulty getting information to those most affected, lack of funds for continuing programs to help end unhealthy practices before they begin, and the unwillingness of Baltimore citizens to address the issue of infant mortality have kept officials from fully determining if the initiative is making progress. >>Read More


Members of health agencies, such as the Family League of Baltimore, have been campaigning for safe sleep practices and visiting homes for almost a year as part of B’More for Healthy Babies. That’s not the culture of raising babies in Baltimore, one Druid Heights resident said. >>Read More


A mother serves her two small children comfort food offered for free at Greenmount's Knox Presbyterian Church. The church offers food to the community every Friday. Photo by Lauren Slavin.More than 40 percent of women in Baltimore are obese, Administrator for Maternal and Infant Care Program for the Baltimore City Health Department Stacey Tuck said. Obese women have more problems during pregnancy and delivery than those at healthy weights. In fall 2010, a pilot obesity reduction program was run in the Patterson Park North and East, Upton/Druid Heights, and Greenmount East communities. The B’More Fit for Healthy Babies program, an offshoot of the original initiative, created Weight Watchers support groups for women of child-bearing age to learn how to take care of themselves and their families in a way that fits into their lifestyle. >>Read More

B’More for Healthy Babies, the People’s Community Health Center, and Baltimore’s Healthy Start sponsored a town hall meeting to discuss the data accumulated by those focus groups
and how the community can access what they vocalized was needed to curb infant mortality rates. The meeting was cancelled after waiting an hour and a half with no one showing up to attend.
>>Read More


 The Baltimore City government has been working for over a decade to lower rates of infant mortality, low birth weight, and sleep-related deaths.

Director of the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Communications Ryan O’Doherty and Press secretary for the Office of the Mayor Ian Brennan discuss the importance of the B’More For Healthy Babies campaign and the effectiveness of the initiative’s first phase.

Infant Mortality Statistics Infant mortality statistics for Baltimore City have remained stagnant for the past decade.
Maryland has 7.3 deaths per 1000 live births, ranking 19th worst in infant mortality rates in the United States.

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