PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s infant mortality rate increased in 2017, according to new data released today by the Department of Health. There were 12,128 births in 2017 and 94 infant deaths for a rate of 7.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.
The state reported its lowest ever American Indian infant mortality rate of 8.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. The white infant mortality rate was 7 deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2016, South Dakota reported a rate of 4.8 deaths per 1,000 live births. Although the state’s infant mortality rate increased in 2017, the average infant mortality rate for the five-year period from 2013 to 2017 is the lowest ever recorded at 6.5 deaths per 1,000 live births.
“Infant mortality is a complex and multi-faceted issue, and the latest data demonstrates that sustained effort is needed to ensure more South Dakota babies celebrate their first birthday,” said First Lady Linda Daugaard, who chaired the 2011 Governor’s Task Force on Infant Mortality. “We must continue to promote safe sleep guidelines for infants, help pregnant women stop smoking and encourage early prenatal care.”
South Dakota data shows babies are twice as likely to die before their first birthday if their mothers smoke during pregnancy. In 2017, 12.6 percent of pregnant women smoked while pregnant, down from 19.4 percent in 2007. The data also shows 72.2 percent of pregnant women in South Dakota received prenatal care in the first trimester.
“Infant mortality is considered a gold standard for measuring the health of a population,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health. “The Department of Health, in cooperation with partners, is committed to offering statewide services and providing community support to improve the health of all South Dakotans.”
The First Lady noted the state’s Cribs for Kids program has distributed 9,759 safe sleep kits to families in need since its launch in 2012. The kits include a Pack ‘N Play crib, sheet, infant sleep sack, pacifier and safe sleep educational materials.
Learn more about healthy pregnancies and safe sleep guidelines at ForBabySakeSD.com.