Reducing smoking and bed-sharing will be the targets of a new national programme launched this week to reduce Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI).
The programme, being lead by Māori public health organisation Hāpai Te Hauora, will from September start providing safe sleeping devices such as woven wahukura or plastic peps-pods to families identified as needing them in their baby’s first year of life. Accidental suffocation through parents sharing a bed with their baby is one of the main preventable risks of SUDI.
The campaign aims to reduce the overall rate of SUDI in New Zealand by 86 per cent overall and 94 per cent for Māori. Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said this would reduce the number of SUDI deaths a year by 44 to six.
The campaign would also target reducing another of the major preventable risks – exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and will include innovative approaches to reducing smoking. The programme will also encourage immunisation, breastfeeding and sleeping babies on their backs.