Infant mortality rates on the raise; Experts concerned

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In the U.S., nearly six babies out of every 1,000 born, won't make it to their first birthday.

A large number of those children are born prematurely and here in Shelby County, the infant mortality rate used to make parents cringe.

"If you've got to be a premature baby this is the best time because of the outcomes," Teresa Bentley said.

Bentley is a registered nurse at Baptist Women's health she works in the NICU.

She says it's complicated to explain why the sudden jump.

"I think teens are at risk to have premature babies. I think the data supports that so it's definitely a piece of the puzzle," Bentley said.

This isn't a new battle representative Antonio Parkinson says for a decade he's worked with a community baby shower to help bring down the infant mortality rate.

"We started out working to reduce the infant mortality rate in Shelby County and that was the purpose of us starting this about 10 years ago," Parkinson said.

In September miracle baby Dylan Franklin turned 1 beating the odds since he was born weighing less than a pound.

"Every day he's progressing. Now he's trying to walk he's really tearing our house up now," Paige and Dedrick, Dylan's parents, said.

"A year ago we didn't think he would be here to do what he is doing now."

Bentley says now is not the time to lose hope. It's the time to pay attention and keep a closer eye on premature babies and infants.