Every year too many New Zealand babies die suddenly during sleep.  Many of these deaths can be prevented.

Each year in New Zealand 60 to 70 babies die from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI).  SUDI is a term that encapsulates both explained and unexplained deaths in infancy including, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), unintentional suffocation and other deaths such as meningitis or infectious diseases.  Babies are at risk of SUDI until they are about 12 months old.

It is most important to note that SUDI can be prevented by following safe sleep practices for your baby and your baby's bed. 

This simple 'P.E.P.E.' safe sleep message has been developed by Whakawhetu, a national kaupapa Maori programme dedicated to Mokopuna ora and reducing the rate of SUDI:

  • PLACE baby in their own bed, face clear of bedding
  • ELIMINATE smoking in pregnancy, and protect baby with a smokefree whanau (family), whare (house) and waka (car).
  • POSITION baby on their back to sleep, face up.
  • ENCOURAGE and support mum, so baby is breastfed.

SUDI prevention messages

Infant sleeping practices have continued to evolve as we find out more about SUDI.  To prevent SUDI we must promote the most up to date, evidence based, safe sleeping practices to whanau/familes. 

Whakawhetu also deliver SUDI prevention training and coordinate the national Safe Sleep Day campaign every December which supports the work of NMDHB and our community to reduce SUDI.

Whakawhetu Safe Sleep Day

To find out more about Whakawhetu and the key P.E.P.E. safe sleep messages visit the Whakawhetu website.