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News & Events

News & Event

Saving Babies Together

Justus Scott was three pounds, 12 ounces at birth. Born at eight months, he endured surgeries, a feeding tube, transfusions, and a colostomy bag.
The Scott family pictured at Glenn O. Swing Elementary School in Covington. Sitting: Justus and Sophia. Standing: John, Jackson, and Joy.
 The Scott family pictured at Glenn O. Swing Elementary School in Covington. Sitting: Justus and Sophia. Standing: John, Jackson, and Joy.
Justus Scott was three pounds, 12 ounces at birth. Born at eight months, he endured surgeries, a feeding tube, transfusions, and a colostomy bag.

While Justus and his family fought for his survival, other families suffered devastating loss. From 2010 to 2014, 522 babies in Hamilton County died. This puts our infant mortality rate among the worst 10 percent in the nation.

This unacceptable number pushed our city’s leaders to form a partnership for change: Cradle Cincinnati

Government agencies, hospitals, the philanthropic community, educators, and parents share a vision: every child in Hamilton County will live to see his or her first birthday. 

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation is one of these partners. To date, the Foundation has granted more than $71,000 to Cradle Cincinnati. Initial investments like GCF’s have leveraged $4.1 million in government funding.

“Every year, roughly 100 babies die in Hamilton County,” said Ryan Adcock, executive director of Cradle Cincinnati. “There are about 1,500 preterm babies every year and three-fourths of infant deaths are directly related to prematurity. If we want to follow infant mortality, we have to follow preterm births.”

Cradle Cincinnati is educating the community about this incredibly complicated issue, which factors in education, poverty, health, and the unknown. 

It’s promoting three ways to save babies’ lives: spacing, (no) smoking, and sleep. Preterm birth is more likely if a mom gets pregnant less than 18 months after giving birth. Smoking increases the likelihood of premature birth. Babies sleep safest when they sleep alone on their backs and in a crib. Partners have blasted this message across the city on billboards, in offices, and on the radio.

“There is no one program or initiative that can solve this by itself,” Ryan said. “We really do need tons of partners. We are a collection of folks, not a program.”

The good news is that in two short years, there has been positive change. Previously, 16 babies died each year in Hamilton County from sleep-related causes. In the last year, this number has been reduced to seven deaths.

And Justus? He’s a healthy kindergartner at Glenn O. Swing Elementary School in Covington. He’s also part of a wonderful family — parents John and Sophia, and siblings Jackson and Joy.

“He’s the most rambunctious of the three,” John said. “He’s our daredevil.”

Being grateful for Justus’ full recovery is why the Scott family serve as spokespersons for Cradle Cincinnati.

“We’re a success story and we’re advocates for research and awareness,” John said.

As the three Scott children run around on a playground, John and Sophia smile.

It’s a happy ending more families can have with our community working together.




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