Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
A study conducted by the international organization Save the Children has found that more than 1 million children around the world die the same day they are born, with the U.S. having the highest number of birth-day deaths in the industrialized world.
The 2013 State of the World’s Mothers report focuses in on newborn health and the theme “Surviving the First Day.” A new Birth Day Risk Index ranks 186 countries by the chances a baby will die on the first day of life.
The United States is a riskier place to be born than 68 other countries, according to the new analysis conducted by Save the Children and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
In the industrialized world, the United States has 60 percent of all first-day deaths, but only 38 percent of live births. Approximately 11,300 U.S. babies died on the first day of life in 2011, the report says. Some U.S. counties have first-day death rates common in the developing world, where 98 percent of all first-day deaths occur.
“It’s hard to imagine the depth of one mother’s pain in losing her baby the very day she gives birth, let alone a million times over,” said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children in a statement. “Yet, this report is full of hope. It shows there is a growing movement to save newborn lives and growing evidence that we can do it—saving up to 75 percent of them with no intensive care whatsoever.”
Since 1990, overall child mortality has dropped dramatically around the world, from 12 million annual deaths to less than 7 million. But the report shows that lack of global attention on newborns has translated into a much slower decline in newborn mortality. In sub-Saharan Africa, as many newborns die now as two decades ago.
Globally, a rising share of child deaths—43 percent—now occur in the newborn period, or first month of life. The new report finds that more than a third of newborn deaths, or 15 percent of all child deaths, occur on the same day—the first.
The three leading causes of newborn death are prematurity, birth complications and severe infections. Among wealthier countries, higher U.S. rates of prematurity contribute to higher newborn mortality. Whether in the United States or the developing world, the poorest mothers are more likely to lose a newborn baby, the report finds.
Image: Sad doctor, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Thursday, April 11th, 2013
A large-scale study on the effects of oxygen levels on premature babies is under scrutiny by an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has issued a letter to parents warning them they were not cautioned that participating in the study could increase the risks of blindness of death afflicting their babies. More from The New York Times:
The Office for Human Research Protections, which safeguards the people who participate in government-funded research, sent a letter to the University of Alabama at Birmingham last month, detailing what it said were violations of patients’ rights.
The university, which was a lead site for the study, had not detailed the risks in consent forms that were the basis of parents’ participation, the office said in the letter. Specifically, babies assigned to a high-oxygen group were more likely to go blind and babies assigned to a low-oxygen group were more likely to die than if they had not participated. Ultimately, 130 babies out of 654 in the low-oxygen group died, and 91 babies out of 509 in the high-oxygen group developed blindness.
Some of the 1,300 infants who participated in the study, which took place between 2004 and 2009, would probably have died or developed blindness even if they had not taken part. They were born at just 24 to 27 weeks gestation, a very high-risk category. But being assigned to one or the other oxygen group in the study increased their chances further, a risk that was not properly disclosed, the office said
Richard B. Marchase, vice president for research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a telephone interview that a similar group of infants born around the same time who did not participate in the study actually died at higher rates than those in the low-oxygen group. Those infants were not a control group in the study, but were roughly similar in number and in age to those in the study group; they had a 24 percent mortality rate, compared with a 20 percent mortality rate for the infants in the low-oxygen group.
He said the study kept the infants within the standard band of treatment for oxygen levels — 85 percent to 95 — and that its findings were forming the basis for a definition by the American Academy of Pediatrics about what the standard of care should be.
He said he had assured the Office for Human Research Protections that in the future, “we will to the best of our ability let the subjects or their parents know as thoroughly as possible what previous studies suggest in terms of risk.” He added, “We are going to be very sensitive to that going forward as we look at these consent forms.”
Image: Infant in incubator, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Thursday, December 6th, 2012
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is suing Baby Matters, LLC, a company that make so-called “infant recliners” after 5 infants have died while using them. Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill are the two models responsible for the deaths.
The Nap Nanny was recalled in 2010 due to entrapment and strangulation hazards, but was redesigned and allowed back on the market. The CPSC released the following statement about the lawsuit:
“CPSC is aware of four infants who died in Nap Nanny Generation Two recliners and a fifth death involved the Chill model.
To date, CPSC has received a total of over 70 additional incident reports of children nearly falling out of the product. The staff alleges that the products create a substantial risk of injury to the public.
CPSC staff filed the administrative complaint against Baby Matters, LLC after discussions with the company and its representatives failed to result in an adequate voluntary recall plan that would address the hazard posed by consumer use of the product in a crib or without the harness straps being securely fastened.
In July 2010, CPSC and Baby Matters, LLC issued a joint recall news release to announce an $80 coupon to Generation One owners toward the purchase of a newer model and improved instructions and warnings to consumers who owned the Generation Two model of Nap Nanny recliners.”
Image: Nap Nanny Generation 2, via http://www.cpsc.gov/
Add a Comment
Thursday, December 29th, 2011
Despite laboratory research by the company that makes Enfamil powdered infant formula that showed the powder to be free of the harmful environmental bacteria Cronobacter, more cases of ill babies have parents remaining confused over the product’s safety. Last week, Wal-Mart recalled the formula until the investigation is clearly resolved. The Washington Post reports on the additional illnesses:
An Oklahoma baby is the third infant this month sickened by a rare type of bacteria sometimes associated with tainted powdered infant formula.
The child, from Tulsa County, was infected with Cronobacter sakazakii but fully recovered, health officials said Wednesday. An Illinois child also rebounded after being sickened by the bacteria. A Missouri infant who was 10 days old died.
The Missouri child, Avery Cornett of Lebanon, had consumed Enfamil Newborn powdered infant formula made by Illinois-based Mead Johnson. Powdered formula has been suspected in illnesses caused by the bacteria in years past.
But health officials say the Oklahoma child had not consumed Enfamil. And Mead Johnson this week reported that its own testing found no bacteria in the product.
U.S. officials are awaiting results from their own testing of powdered formula and distilled water — also known as ‘nursery water’ — used to prepare it.
The cases occurred in roughly the same region of the country. At this point, it’s not clear that they are connected, said Barbara Reynolds, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokeswoman.
Symptoms can include irritability, lethargy, fever, vomiting and seizures. The infection can be treated with antibiotics, but it’s still deemed extremely dangerous to babies less than 1 month old and those born premature. An estimated 40 percent of illnesses from the bacteria end in death.
Add a Comment
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
A week after Wal-Mart stores pulled cans of Enfamil powdered formula in the wake of a newborn’s death, the company that manufactures the formula said it had conducted extensive lab tests, finding the product to be safe.
The company, Mead Johnson, tested for an environmental bacterium called Cronobacter, which can be fatal, and found no traces of it in the samples they tested.
Federal regulators are continuing their investigation of the product, The New York Times reports:
Chris Perille, a spokesman for Mead Johnson, said the company had tested the same batch of formula as public health authorities. The negative test for Cronobacter confirmed results the company got before it shipped the batch of Enfamil Premium Newborn powdered formula.
“We hold samples of every batch,” he said on Sunday in a telephone interview. “There’s only one batch of one product that’s being checked out.”
Mr. Perille said that Mead Johnson had not been given a time frame for when the F.D.A. and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would finish their reviews, which probably include water samples and other environmental tests.
No other “serious” complaints have been reported related to the batch of Enfamil Premium Newborn that was being tested, he said.
Image: Powdered infant formula, via Shutterstock.
Add a Comment