2 Dec 2016 | Child & Youth Mortality Review Committee
Around 3000 lives have been saved in the past 20 years because of efforts to prevent sudden unexpected death in infants (SUDI).
Although New Zealand rates for SUDI have improved, they remain among the highest in the industrialised world, with rates for Māori disproportionately high compared with non-Māori.
Latest mortality review data from the Health Quality & Safety Commission shows that in 2015, 44 babies died from SUDI before their first birthday.
Dr Felicity Dumble, chair of the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee, says it is important for all New Zealanders to work together to prevent SUDI.
‘National Safe Sleep Day is a reminder for all of us to consider how we can work together to prevent SUDI. SUDI prevention is the responsibility of parents, whānau, health and social service providers and policy makers - everyone has a part to play,’ says Dr Dumble.
She says health and social service providers in particular have an important part to play in promoting culturally appropriate services for whānau and families so babies grow up in a smokefree household, with a safe sleep space where they are placed to sleep on their backs.
Dr Sue Belgrave, chair of the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee, says it is critical that whānau and families have access to consistent safe sleep messages, early on in pregnancy, and from all service providers.
‘Early enrolment with lead maternity carers offers important opportunities for health providers to raise awareness about safe sleep practices and support mothers’ access to care by connecting them with other agencies and programmes across and beyond the health sector,’ she says.
Key things all those responsible for caring for a baby can do to prevent SUDI include:
For more about National Safe Sleep Day, visit www.safesleepday.org.nz.
You can read more about the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee at http://www.hqsc.govt.nz/our-programmes/mrc/cymrc/, including its special report into Unintentional suffocation, foreign body inhalation and strangulation, and the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee at http://www.hqsc.govt.nz/our-programmes/mrc/pmmrc/.