New safe sleep device guidelines to reduce SUDI

Ministry of Health media release

New Ministry of Health resources will help infants have quality sleep, while also protecting them from SUDI (sudden unexpected death in infancy).

“Tragically, SUDI causes the deaths of around 44 babies in Aotearoa New Zealand each year, most from Māori whānau or Pacific fanau. This is a significant inequity,” says Dr Pat Tuohy, the Ministry's Chief Advisor, Child and Youth Health.

These guidelines are part of a range of measures to help combat SUDI.

Funding for supplying safe sleep devices (such as wahakura and pēpi pods) and for providing access to SUDI support, such as whānau education programmes 
comes through the Ministry of Health’s National SUDI Prevention Programme to make sure safe sleeping environments become the norm.

“Safe sleep devices such as wahakura are taonga: gifts to whānau that keep their most precious treasure, their tamariki, safe. Many safe sleep devices are made by traditional weavers (kairaranga) or by whānau who are guided through the process by those same weavers, which makes them all the more special."

The Ministry has published two new guidelines to help whānau, people working in health and social services, and health professionals to better protect babies from SUDI.

“Our health system plays a huge role in improving the wellbeing of tamariki in Aotearoa New Zealand, making sure all children have the health they need to thrive,” says Dr Tuohy.

Read more about safe sleep for baby and how you can reduce your child's risk of SUDI.