Health officials say infant death rates have spiked in south Georgia and north Florida counties. More than 100 area families are losing babies every year.
Today, 10/12 the Healthy Start Coalition hosted its 9th annual National Walk to Remember. Parents and loved ones walked around Lake Ella with candles honoring the babies who died. Many brought pictures and T-shirts in memory of their lost infants.
Siana Timmons was in a car accident. Her placenta erupted causing her baby boy Aiden to die two days before his due date. Timmons says she was in a comma and when she woke up Aiden had already been taken away, she never got to see him. "It was the worst fear any mother could ever face and what was so hard about it was that I didn't know until days later."
Tara Huls' son Xavier was born prematurely. He fought for life in the hospital but ultimately didn't make it. "He was 24 weeks. He cried twice before he was incubated. He was in the ICU for 2 and a half days. One of his lungs collapsed and that's what caused his death."
Health officials say the babies are dying from a variety of medical reasons like sudden infant death syndrome, leukemia, diabetes, and other diseases.
Officials say Gadsden County, Florida and Lowndes County, Georgia have some of the highest infant death rates in our area. Health departments and hospitals in those counties are making strides to lower those numbers by offering various programs.