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Data Shows State’s 2016 Infant Mortality Rate Lowest Ever

            Office of Gov. Dennis Daugaard

500 E. Capitol Ave.

Pierre, S.D. 57501

(605) 773-3212






FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, May 2, 2017

CONTACT:  Colleen Winter, Department of Health, 605-773-3737 


EDITORS/NEWS DIRECTORS:  For video and audio from the First Lady on infant mortality, visit news.sd.gov/media.aspx and click on “Video” or “Audio” under “Governor Dennis Daugaard.”



Data Shows State’s 2016 Infant Mortality Rate Lowest Ever


PIERRE, S.D. – In 2016 South Dakota reported its lowest rate ever of infant deaths, according to new data released today by the Department of Health. The data shows there were 12,270 births in 2016 and 59 infant deaths for a rate of 4.8 deaths per 1,000 live births. That’s down from 7.3 in 2015 and below the previous low of 5.5 in 2000.


“It’s wonderful news that more babies are celebrating their first birthdays,” said First Lady Linda Daugaard, who chaired the 2011 Governor’s Task Force on Infant Mortality. “If we continue to promote safe sleep guidelines for infants, help pregnant women stop smoking and get early prenatal care, we can support that encouraging trend.”


Promoting safe sleep guidelines, increasing early prenatal care and decreasing smoking by pregnant women were key recommendations of the task force. South Dakota data shows babies are twice as likely to die before their first birthday if their mothers smoke during pregnancy. The new data shows 13.6 percent of pregnant women smoked during pregnancy, down from 14 percent in 2015. The data also showed 72.7 percent of pregnant women in South Dakota got prenatal care in the first trimester.


The First Lady noted the state’s Cribs for Kids program has distributed 7,915 safe sleep kits since its launch in 2012 to provide families in need with safe sleep options for their babies. The kits include a Pack ‘N Play crib, sheet, infant sleep sack, pacifier and educational materials.


“The decrease in the number of infant deaths is encouraging and certainly reflects the hard work of many health care providers across the state,” said Colleen Winter, director of family and community health for the department. “We need to continue those efforts, particularly among our American Indian population where the infant mortality rate is still disproportionately high.” 


Learn more about healthy pregnancies and safe sleep guidelines at the department’s www.ForBabySakeSD.com website.


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Reducing the state’s infant mortality rate is a key performance measure of the Department of Health’s 2015-2020 strategic plan, http://doh.sd.gov/strategicplan.