CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - State health experts released new data which shows no change in the death rate of babies in our state compared to the previous year.
The figures just released are for infant deaths from 2015 to 2016.
While the number of deaths resulting from birth defects increased by over 18 percent, the number of deaths from preterm birth or low birth weight decreased by almost 28 percent.
The leading causes of infant deaths in South Carolina are preterm birth and low birth weight, along with birth defects, accidents and sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
Deaths from SIDS decreased by nine percent.
The state's infant mortality rate remained at seven deaths per 1000 births, which is four fewer deaths in 2016 than in the previous year.
State health officials say the data shows a 26 percent decrease in the overall rate in the past 20 years. They say it includes a decline in the deaths of babies among minorities, and a d rop in deaths in teen births, which traditionally are higher risk.
Health experts say to prevent sleep-related deaths, babies should be placed on their backs to sleep. Another tip, officials say to never smoke around a baby, as second-hand smoke can contribute to sudden, unexplained infant death.
Women who are pregnant, or who are planning a pregnancy should take a multivitamin that contains the daily recommended dose of folic acid, which can help prevent birth defects such as spina bifida and brain and skull disorders.