Sudden infant death rates on the decline

6 Dec 2013 | Child & Youth Mortality Review Committee

Press release from Hon Jo Goodhew

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew has today, on Safe Sleep Day, welcomed a decline in sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI).

“In 2012 there were 36 SUDI cases, down from 55 in 2008,” says Mrs Goodhew. The last decade has seen a significant decline in the rate of SUDI.

“Research has found the risk of SUDI can be decreased with safe sleep practices. This includes putting babies to sleep on their back, keeping bedding away from their face and making sure their rooms are smokefree.

“SUDI rates are one of the key drivers behind New Zealand’s high post neonatal death rate, which is the measure of how many infants die aged between 29 days and one year.

“The decrease in SUDI has contributed to a decrease in the overall number of post neonatal deaths. In 2012, 98 post neonatal deaths were recorded, compared to 134 in 2008.

This data has been captured in a soon-to-be released report from the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee.

“While the decline is encouraging, New Zealand’s SUDI rate is still too high,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“I encourage all caregivers to use Safe Sleep Day as an opportunity to discuss what, if any, extra precautions you could be taking to minimise the risk of SUDI in your household,” says Mrs Goodhew.

Further information about what caregivers can do can be found at: and at

Last updated 06/12/2013