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Child Fatality Report Shows Lowest Number of Deaths in County History

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Media Contacts: Deonna Kirkpatrick: Dkirkpatrick@jfs.ohio.gov
Jennifer Ciaccia: (216) 250-5863; jciaccia@cuyahogacounty.us

 

Annual report highlights areas of improvement and shares resources for prevention

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH – The Cuyahoga County Child Fatality Review Board annual report for 2022 shows welcome progress in some areas and focuses on ways families and the community can help prevent child deaths.

In 2022, there were 152 deaths of children 0 through age 17, representing the lowest annual number of deaths in county history, and 13 fewer than in 2021. The infant mortality rate of 7.2 per 1,000 live births was also the lowest annual rate in County history.

“Cuyahoga County is thoroughly committed to doing all we can to improve child health and wellness,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne. “Although the information contained within the Child Fatality Report is heartbreaking, it is encouraging to see some data trending in the right direction. By providing education and resources, we can empower parents and caregivers, save young lives, and foster prosperous futures for our treasured children.”

The report also showed a slight increase in the Black infant mortality rate to 12.9 from 12.1 in 2021, after two years of steep declines. There was also a small increase in the number of infant sleep related deaths. Additionally, the number of child homicides, particularly due to gun violence, more than doubled from 11 in 2021 to 23 in 2022.

“Although it is encouraging to see that Cuyahoga County experienced the lowest number of infant deaths on record in 2022, we remain aware of and committed to reducing the profound racial inequities seen in infant health outcomes,” said Shawna Rohrman, Ph.D., Director, Cuyahoga County Office of Early Childhood/Invest in Children. “The data in the report shows us that Black babies are more than three times more likely than white babies to die before reaching their first birthday. Through education and outreach, we are working toward a brighter future where families have the support they need.”

This report presents an opportunity to highlight free and low-cost resources families can use to prevent infant deaths and keep kids safe and injury free. The Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health support many programs that have contributed to the steady decline in infant mortality seen over the last ten years, as well as programs that support child health and safety. These efforts include pregnancy support and newborn home visiting programs, and programs that provide cribs to new parents and instruction in safe sleep practices. These and other programs and resources for parents can be found at:

“As a member of the Child Fatality Review Board and key contributor to the annual report, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health is committed to lowering the number of preventable infant and child deaths, by working collaboratively to improve opportunities for our highest need families to achieve their fullest health potential.” said Michele Benko, Supervisor of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Cuyahoga County Board of Health. “Our Cribs for Kids program offers eligible families one-on-one safe sleep education, a portable crib and connections to other resources and services.”

The Cuyahoga County Child Fatality Review Board is a collaborative effort of Cuyahoga County and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. The report includes the final numbers and analysis for all child deaths that occurred for any reason, and tracks trends and monitors where progress in preventing child deaths has occurred, and where additional community focus is needed.

Access the Report: hhs.cuyahogacounty.us/departments/invest-in-children/child-fatality-review-board