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Discussions with urban American Indian and Alaska Native parents: Keeping babies healthy and safe

Urban Indian Health Institute, Seattle Indian Health Board – 2011

Report of a study conducted by four urban Indian health organizations on how to address high infant mortality rates among Native Americans. Summarizes comments by Indian parents on infant health and safety issues. Participants discussed negative environmental factors such as alcohol abuse and domestic violence, as well as the importance of breaking inter-generational cycles of substance use, teen pregnancy, and violence. Barriers to infant health include lack of resources and support and conflicting cultural norms. Participants reported concerns about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), their own emotional health, and outside influences such as drugs and alcohol. They also discussed sources of infant health information and support. Parents noted the need for culturally-specific public awareness campaigns that focus on positive imagery and messages (with fathers citing anti-drinking messages in particular). Parents also cited the need for support groups and activities and described the challenges of urban life.