Since the NICHD's founding in 1962, infant death rates in the United States have dropped more than 70%. Contributing to this decline has been the application of NICHD research on infant health and care. The NICHD's research portfolio includes many aspects of infant health and leads and supports studies that improve infant health, reduce the risk of complications and morbidities, and advance our knowledge.
Specific goals of the NICHD for infant health include, but are not limited to:
- Reduce infant mortality by understanding ways to prevent or reduce the risk for various causes of infant mortality, such as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Expand knowledge about nutrition and how it can promote infant health.
- Identify ways to reduce the risk for, prevent, and intervene in problems related to birth and infant health, such as neural tube defects and cerebral palsy.
- Explore ways to stimulate and promote learning, social well-being, and emotional health, as well as ways to promote interventions for improving these factors in all infants.
- Determine the best ways to promote healthy physical growth and development.
- Identify interventions during the infant period that can improve long-term health outcomes.