Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) Prevention | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau

Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) Prevention

With one of the highest rates for SUDI in New Zealand the Northland DHB (in conjunction with the regional Child Health Network and Whakawhetu) has produced four television commercials promoting the SUDI prevention acronym PEPE – Place, Eliminate, Position and Encourage.

Produced with local whanau the Safe Sleep television commercials have been developed for distribution not only on national television but also via email and phone apps to expectant mums and their whanau.

“Our focus group of young mums told us that they are given too many bits of paper from health providers so we worked closely with them to develop the four new audio visual resources”, offered Jacqui Westren, Service Improvement and Programmes Manager Child, Youth, Maternal and Oral Health Services, Northland DHB.

P - PLACE baby in his or her own baby bed

Where we place our baby to sleep is really important. We need to make sure that baby cannot become wedged under or in between anything and that there is nothing that can block baby’s airway. So it’s important to place baby in his or her own baby bed. Again it’s all about protecting baby’s breathing.Make sure there are no toys or pillows in the baby bed.

  • Make sure the mattress is firm and there are no gaps between the mattress and the sides of the baby bed as this may trap baby and make it hard for them to breathe.
  • Make sure that the blankets and sheets do not cover baby’s face.
  • Baby is safest sleeping in the same room as mum and dad, while they are sleeping.

A range of baby beds are available that allow you to sleep next to your moko in your bed, while he or she is in a safe baby bed. For example there is the wahakura, moses basket and peepi pod.

E - ELIMINATE smoking in pregnancy, in the whānau and in the home

Babies from smoke free pregnancies have stronger lungs and more drive to breathe than babies who have been exposed to cigarette smoke. So being smoke free is one of the best ways to help baby’s breathing, which will protect baby to sleep safely through the night.

  • Babies from smoke free pregnancies are healthier and stronger.
  • Being a smoke free whanau helps baby’s breathing and protects him or her to sleep safely.
  • If you smoke and you want to protect your baby to sleep safely through the night, quit smoking.
  • If you want to quit smoking, there are a range of services that can help, so seek the advice of your health professional.

P - POSITION baby on his or her back to sleep

Babies are 14 times safer sleeping on their backs, than sleeping on their tummies. But this can be difficult to do if aunty or nanny insists that sleeping baby on his or her tummy or side is the best thing to do. So stay strong and remember that you have the power to protect your baby.

  • When you place baby to sleep on his or her back, you are helping baby to breathe.
  • If you position baby to sleep on his or her side, baby could roll onto his or her tummy.
  • If baby sleeps on his or her tummy, the airway can get blocked.
  • Baby is safest sleeping flat on his or her back. It’s important that baby’s head is NOT propped, so avoid pillows, rolled up blankets or anything else that can flex the neck as this can block the airway.
  • If baby is coughing up or spilling often and you have concerns about sleeping baby on his or her back, seek the advice of a health professional.

E - ENCOURAGE and support mum, so baby is breastfed

Breast milk has been described as the perfect food because it provides many of the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs to protect him or her from illness. These strengthening properties help baby to sleep safely through the night. So it is important to breast feed up to six months.

  • Breast feeding strengthens baby, which helps him or her to sleep safely through the night.
  • Breast milk is free, always at the right temperature and is readily available.
  • Breastfeeding strengthens the bond between mother and baby.
  • Babies are healthier and stronger when they are breastfed.



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