City unveils Strong Baby Campaign to reduce infant mortality

MILWAUKEE -- The City of Milwaukee and the UW-Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health are teaming up for a new campaign they hope will lower the city's infant mortality rate. It's called the Strong Baby Campaign, and features posters of stronger than average babies: babies kicking through a block of Legos, or even doing one-handed push ups. It's all meant to grab your attention and raise awareness regarding the city's infant mortality rate.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the UWM School of Public Health say the alarming infant mortality statistics in the city of Milwaukee are a "macro" problem that require a "micro" solution. "African-American babies die at a rate of two to three times higher than white babies, and that is completely unacceptable. Don't smoke, get the prenatal care, have safe sleeping conditions, all these messages are parts of this puzzle that we are attempting to put together," Barrett said.

Milwaukee's Commissioner of Health Bevan Baker stressed how important it is for mothers to visit the doctor while they're pregnant, and also for women planning to become pregnant. "While they may seem routine, they give the health care provider the opportunity to catch some potential problems before they become serious," Baker said.

With the new Strong Baby Campaign, Barrett hopes everyone will get the idea through pictures, like one that shows 16-month-old Maydson Dixon from Milwaukee, lifting up a couch with one hand, so she can get her favorite stuffed frog. "I am convinced that if we keep getting this message out, that we will make progress," Barrett said.

The latest campaign is all part of the city's goal to cut down on infant mortality rates by 20 percent by the year 2017. Mayor Barrett also wants to cut down on those deaths in the African-American community by 15 percent.