Doctor holding a pink and blue ribbon, symbolic of sudden infant death syndrome.
Nursing News May 12, 2016

By Andrya Feinberg, contributor

Countries With the Lowest Infant Mortality Rates

As technology evolves and healthcare improves, infant mortality rates continue to decrease in many countries around the world. While the United States lags behind many other wealthy countries in terms of infant mortality, increasing access to healthcare and social programs can help drive these numbers down. NICU and L&D travel nurses play a vital role in decreasing infant deaths, providing much-needed help in hospitals with nursing shortages.

Infant mortality is the death of an infant before their first birthday. The leading causes of infant mortality are congenital defects (birth defects), preterm birth and low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), maternal complications of pregnancy, and complications of the umbilical cord, placenta, and membranes.

Demographics contributing to the infant mortality rate include teen mothers, women over 40, and women on IVF, as they are more likely to have babies that are premature, have low birth weights, or have birth defects. The infant mortality rate for twins is four times the rate of single births. The infant mortality rate for triplets is 12 times that of single births, and for quadruplets, it is 26 times the rate of single births. As technology improves, discoveries are made, vaccinations are created, and better prenatal care is available, the decrease in infant mortality will continue, and the increase in live births will flourish.

Factors Contributing to a Decrease in Infant Mortality

There are many factors that contribute to the significant decrease in infant mortality, including:
•    Acquiring the latest technology
•    Supplying hospitals and healthcare facilities with specialized equipment
•    Improving women’s health before, during, and after pregnancy
•    Promoting safety and quality in prenatal care
•    Investing in prevention and health promotion
•    Strengthening research
•    Promoting community collaboration
•    Investing in social programs
•    Improving access to preconception, periconceptional, and prenatal health care

Lowest Infant Mortality Rates by Country

The infant mortality rate is an estimate of the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 births. We see this rate decreasing steadily as access to technology is greater, prenatal care is better, and community collaboration and availability of social programs are stronger than ever.

Throughout the world, the following countries have the lowest infant mortality rates:
•    Monaco with 1.91 deaths per 1,000 births
•    Luxembourg with 2 deaths per 1,000 births
•    Finland with 2 deaths per 1,000 births
•    Japan with 2.17 deaths per 1,000 births
•    Norway with 2.49 deaths per 1,000 births
•    Singapore with 2.61 deaths per 1,000 births
•    Sweden with 2.64 deaths per 1,000 births
•    Iceland with 3.18

Lowest Infant Mortality Rates by State within the U.S.

Below are the states with the lowest infant mortality rates:
•    Massachusetts with 4.2 deaths per 1,000 births
•    Vermont with 4.3 deaths per 1,000 births
•    New Jersey with 4.5 deaths per 1,000 births
•    California with 4.6 deaths per 1,000 births
•    Colorado with 4.8 deaths per 1,000 births
•    Iowa with 4.8 deaths per 1,000 births
•    Nebraska with 4.9 deaths per 1,000 births
•    New Hampshire with 4.9 deaths per 1,000 births
•    Washington with 4.9 deaths per 1,000 births
•    Connecticut with 5.0 deaths per 1,000 births
•    New York with 5.0 deaths per 1,000 births

Will you be the one saving lives and contributing to the worldwide decrease in infant mortality? Share your passion with others, and check out Onward Healthcare’s travel nursing jobs in the L&DPICU, and NICU today!

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