Fetal-Infant Mortality Review

Development
The Humboldt County Maternal and Child Health Division began the Fetal-Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) program in 1991. The program is now 1 of 17 projects in California. Humboldt and other smaller counties have chosen to combine FIMR activities with the case review of older child deaths. The combined Fetal Infant Mortality Review and Child Death Review Team (FIMRCDRT) began meeting monthly in 1992.

Goal
A goal of the program is to enhance the health and well being of women, infants and families through the review of fetal, infant and child deaths at the community level.

A case review team examines selected fetal, infant and child death cases, identifies factors associated with these deaths and determines if these factors represent system problems that require change. These findings become team recommendations that address and develop interventions that lead to positive change.

Team members include community leaders, medical care providers, health and human service professionals, law enforcement and advocacy groups.

Team Accomplishments

  • Through the SIDS / Safe Infant Sleeping Workgroup created educational materials, conducted public awareness campaigns such as theater ads and signage on the back of buses, and initiated the "snuggle nest" project
  • Addressed childhood injuries by developing the Child Passenger Safety Program, Youth Safe Driving Project, and Water Safety Program
  • Joined Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health staff in addressing perinatal depression by initiating the Prenatal Postpartum Mood Disorder Task Force, creating a self assessment tool/local resource guide and by participating in the production of a DVD on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

Report
The current report includes the following key recommendations and findings:
  • Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use continue to play a role in fetal, infant, and child deaths
  • Maternal depression which includes perinatal and postpartum depression, is increasingly identified in infant and child cases
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the cause of death in most of our postneonatal (age 1 month to 1 year) cases
  • The sleeping environment of infants continues to be a contributing factor in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), asphyxia, and undetermined infant deaths
  • Unintentional injuries remain the leading cause of death for youth in Humboldt County