The Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) Committee has been under Nurture KC’s umbrella since 2003. This is the case review team that examines infant and fetal deaths through a review of medical records from 10 ZIP codes in Kansas City, MO with the highest rates of infant mortality. FIMR then makes recommendations for action based on their findings. These solutions are sent to the Community Action Team (CAT), which is the second part of the FIMR process and is charged with implementing the solutions proposed by the review team. In September 2021, Nurture KC brought the CAT in house to provide staff support and move on FIMR recommendations with a laser-focus. Our CAT is community-based, drawing from many health, social service and child advocacy sectors of the city for maximum input.
The first project of the CAT is to encourage safe sleep for babies by helping area hospitals achieve safe sleep certification. With so many issues affecting infant health, why is safe sleep a priority? Because it is such a preventable cause of infant death and disparately impacts Black babies. Between 2015-2020, there were 20 Black infant deaths due to unsafe sleep and 7 deaths for White infants in Kansas City, MO. Unsafe sleep accounted for 24% of all Black infant deaths in Kansas City during that five-year time span. Establishing a culture of safe sleep must begin while parents and caregivers are in the hospital to reinforce the message and practice. Safe sleep certification requires the hospital to have an acceptable policy outlining the mechanics of safe sleep according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), staff training requirements and parent education components. Only two hospitals in the metro currently have safe sleep certification through Cribs for Kids. The CAT will provide technical assistance to metro hospitals so that certification is not an onerous process but one that is beneficial for providers and, of course, new parents.
While safe sleep is our first priority, there will be many more to come as the CAT seeks to make a real difference in the lives of the families we serve and our work to reduce infant mortality, particularly for Black and Latino families in Kansas City.
Executive Director, Nurture KC