Day 366: Infant Mortality Initiative

“Infant mortality” is the number of babies who die prior to their first birthday, regardless of cause. In the United States, the infant mortality rate is 6.1 babies who die prior to age 1 per 1,000 babies, high enough to place the U.S. 27th among developed countries. The news from St. Louis City is even worse: 11.8 deaths per 1,000 babies.

In 2016, Junior League of St. Louis launched Day 366, our initiative aimed at dramatically reducing this number in St. Louis City and St. Louis County. This is a complex issue that affects everyone in our community, from doctors and teachers to families and politicians. It is linked to the overall health of our society; when babies aren’t healthy, neither is the community.

JLSL members are making a difference through Day 366, contributing their time to volunteer work, community partnerships, and advocacy. For more information, please contact Junior League of St. Louis at 314-822-2344.

Infant Mortality in St. Louis

That 11.8 deaths per 1,000 babies born results from things like premature births, SIDS and birth defects, but can also be made worse by a mother’s experience of chronic stress. In 2013, 36% of infant deaths were linked to pre-term causes (born prior to 37 weeks gestation).*

Every week in St. Louis City and St. Louis County, 46 babies are born too early, 32 babies are born too small and five babies die before their first birthdays.

For babies – and their mothers – reaching the 366th day of life as stress-free as possible is vital to changing infant mortality rates in St. Louis. This might mean ensuring a mom has quality pre- and post-natal care, that she has a support group of other new and experienced moms, or simply that she has access to clean diapers, wipes, and diaper cream to help prevent infection in her baby.

Day 366 Drive

Families who cannot afford diapers may have to leave their babies in wet and soiled diapers, which can contribute to diaper rash– and ultimately, can lead to infection and illness. To help St. Louis babies stay healthy, JLSL hosted a year-long Day 366 Drive in 2016-17. Our Day 366 Drive raised more than 20,000 pieces of the following items that were then distributed to St. Louis-area moms via our community partners.

We are always accepting the following items to share with our community partners. Please contact us if you are interested in making a donation.

  • Diapers size N, 1, 2, 3 (incomplete packs are welcome)
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Baby wipes
  • Plastic bottles (new or gently used)



*CDC. Preterm Birth, Reproductive Health (2017)