Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb and State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG, were pleased with the passage of the Next Level Agenda bills to protect Indiana children from lead exposure and establish consistent standards for investigations into Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths, a leading cause of infant mortality in the state.
“Children are our most precious asset, and these agenda bills will go a long way to help protect children from harmful exposures and allow us to better understand the causes behind the tragic loss of an infant so that we can prevent future deaths,” Gov. Holcomb said.
House Enrolled Act 1313, which was signed into law by Gov. Holcomb on March 10, will take effect Jan. 1, 2023. The legislation requires healthcare providers to offer universal lead testing for children at 12 and 24 months of age. Previously, only children with Medicaid coverage were required to be tested at those intervals.
House Enrolled Act 1169, which will take effect July 1, 2022, aligns Indiana’s process for investigating Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths (SUIDs) with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention best practices. This alignment will ensure that coroner investigations into deaths among healthy children who die suddenly and unexpectedly are handled consistently across the state and include imaging, pathology and toxicology.
Dr. Box said the new legislation closely aligns with the agency’s efforts to reduce infant mortality and ensure that children not only survive, but also thrive.
“Lead exposure can have lifelong effects on individuals’ health and development, so being able to identify issues early can allow us to remove the source of exposure and take steps to protect all children in the home,” Box said.
Additionally, the SUID legislation will help ensure that infant deaths are investigated thoroughly and consistently so that common causes and solutions can be developed, Dr. Box said.