All newborns deserve access to safe sleeping devices

All newborns deserve access to safe sleeping devices.

The Government needs to ensure that all new babies have access to a wahakura safe sleeping device, the Green Party said today.

The Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee (CYMRC) special report on sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) shows that there is much more that can be done to prevent babies dying in New Zealand.

“Every single baby in Aotearoa needs access to a wahakura safe sleeping device,” said Green Party health spokesperson Julie Anne Genter

Call for more to avoid sudden infant deaths

The number of cot deaths in New Zealand has fallen significantly over the past three decades, but more needs to be done, according to a report.

Among the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee's recommendations is a more tailored approach for those most at risk of experiencing a sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI).

The CYMRC, in a report released on Thursday, says there were 44 SUDI cases in 2015, compared with 250 a year in the 1980s.

Maori, Pacific babies still at high risk of cot death, with poor housing partly to blame

Many of the 44 babies who died of cot death in 2015 were living in damp, cold conditions - including converted garages and even cars.

A report released today shows rates of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) have dropped drastically, but not for everyone.

Maori babies are still almost seven times more likely to die unexpectedly in their sleep than non-Maori, non-Pacific Island babies. Pacific Island babies are almost four times more likely to die, according to the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee's report.

Government sets target to drastically reduce sudden infant deaths by more than 80 per cent

Health minister Jonathan Coleman says sudden infant deaths can be drastically reduced by targeting smoking rates and co-sleeping practises. He's unveiled a nationally-coordinated programme to in-need parents baby sleeping pods for newborns.

By reducing smoking rates and bed-sharing with newborn babies, the Government says it can drastically reduce the number of sudden infant deaths in less than a decade. 

Govt aims to dramatically cut infant deaths by targeting pregnant smokers and bed-sharing

Free sleeping pods for babies will be given out later this year as part of a bid to dramatically cut infant death rates from 44 to six within a decade.

The Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) prevention programme, announced yesterday by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, will focus on the two biggest risk factors: smoking during pregnancy and bed-sharing.

It comes after an expert review found death rates for babies and mothers immediately before and after birth were at their lowest rates since records began in 2007.

Bed sharing, maternal smoking raise sudden death in infancy

Bed sharing, maternal smoking raise sudden unexpected death in infancy risk

The combination of bed sharing and maternal smoking is extremely hazardous for infants, giving rise to a 32-fold increase in the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy, new research has found.

The study, called “SUDI Nationwide Study”, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, involved a three year nationwide case-control study carried out between 1 March 2012 and 28 February 2015 by a team of researchers led by the University of Auckland.

Smoking and bed sharing biggest cot death risk

The number of babies that die in New Zealand from sudden unexpected death in infancy risk could be reduced to as few as seven a year - but that would require tackling the major risk factors of maternal smoking and bed sharing.

A three year SUDI Nationwide Study by University of Auckland researchers published in the New Zealand Medical Journal has confirmed and quantified many of the risk factors identified in the landmark New Zealand Cot Death Study in the 1980s.

Infra-red cameras capture babies sleeping safely in flax bassinets

Flax bassinets in the mother's bed are as safe as bassinets alongside the bed for sleeping infants, but also had other advantages, new research reveals.

The safety of flax bassinets (wahakura) was the subject of a joint study between the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, which found they could be promoted as a safer modification of infant-adult bed-sharing.

The study, which was published in leading scientific journal Pediatrics, was prompted over concern over greater rates of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) for Maori and indigenous cultures.

David Tipene-Leach: the doctor with a prescription for change

"I never really wanted to help people," laughs David Tipene-Leach.

It's an intriguing admission from ​a health professional and researcher whose work is behind a significant reduction in sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) among Maori.

"I grew up in the 1960s and 70s, a time when we were all rapidly becoming aware there was something sticky going on in this country, and that Maori were not getting a fair deal," the 61-year-old explains

Cot death still a concern in New Zealand - study

Maternal smoking during pregnancy and bed-sharing with infants create a high risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI), researchers say.

A three-year study, led by Professor Ed Mitchell of Auckland University, has found risk factors identified in the original New Zealand Cot Death Study 30 years ago remain relevant today.

In the three years to February 2015, there were 137 recorded SUDI cases in New Zealand - a national rate of 0.76 per 1000 live births. The rate was higher for Māori (1.41 per 1000) and Pacific children (1.01).

Wahakura prove popular in 'Safe-Sleep' campaign

Flax bassinets are  becoming more popular with new parents, a Hutt health provider says.

Also known as wahakura, the bassinets are part of a safe-sleep strategy which aims to curb the high rates of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) in New Zealand.

They can be placed in a bed, allowing parents to sleep with their baby while minimising the risk of the child being suffocated.

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Mums weave wahakura for smokefree futures

Bay of Plenty mums who want to quit smoking before the birth of their babies are learning through a wahakura workshop how to make better choices for their families. Ūkaipō co-ordinator Tiare Bennet says the programme is unique in that it's the only one where mums weave their own wahakura instead of receiving one as a gift.

Mums are weaving a smokefree future for their babies.

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Greens unveil families policy, pods and universal parental tax credits

Wahakura flax-woven baskets, or plastic pepe pods, would be universally funded for all parents under a new Green Party policy. The sleeping pods give babies their own sleep space in bed-sharing situations, and have been found to reduce rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Turei also reconfirmed the party's 2014 Wahakura policy to provide every newborn with a welcome pack that include a sleeping pod, bedding and essential items.

Cardboard baby boxes making home in Northland

Cardboard boxes which double as beds for a newborn baby and are full of baby supplies are being distributed to Northland families in need. BabyStart boxes are packed full of around 40 items of baby neccessities, from blankets, clothing and nappies to a book and toy. In addition, a fitted mattress and sheets mean it can be used as a bassinet.  Former Northland couple Phil and Clare Horrobin founded the BabyStart charity in 2015 along with police officer Bryan Ward.

New Research Professor at EIT


Widely acclaimed for his achievements in promoting Māori health, David Tipene-Leach is EIT’s newly appointed Professor of Māori and Indigenous Research.

“Moving out of clinical practice is a huge change and I will miss patient care,” says Professor Tipene-Leach, who, for the last 10 years, was a general medical practitioner with Hauora Heretaunga at Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga.

“However, the opportunities at EIT are endless.”