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Infant mortality conference educates mothers

Saturday, four African-American sororities united to help teach mothers how to keep their babies healthy.
Saturday, four African-American sororities united to help teach mothers how to keep their babies healthy.

Arkansas has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, and Saturday's infant mortality training conference set out to stop that trend.

The sororities came together to teach new parents, and those looking for a refresher course, about ways to reduce the risk of injuring their babies.

“In Arkansas, a baby dies every day before reaching its first birthday,” says Dr. Michelle Smith who helped organize the event. “It's very important just to get this information to them because hopefully, they'll become passionate about spreading these messages to others and then we can see a decrease in the infant mortality rate in Arkansas.”

Doctors reminded parents about the importance of using folic acid before pregnancy, getting a flu shot and breast feeding.

“Some of the ways in which we were raised. What they told us about how a baby should sleep, put them on their backs and on their tummies and give them the pacifier. How scientific research has come to identify that those are some of the causes that are causing some of the deaths,” says Crystal Barker.

Barker is a mother, and she's going to take what she learned back to her friends and family members. The conference is also part of Barker's service as a member of her sorority.

“We've survived, so we want to be able to help those that are coming up behind us,” she says.

The Arkansas Department of Health and its partners offer continuing education on many of the topics covered at the conference for parents and caretakers.
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