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Plunket pleased to see infant death figures at all time low

19 February 2013
For immediate release

Plunket pleased to see infant death figures at all time low

New Zealand’s largest provider of services to support the well-being of children under five welcomes the release of figures showing the number of infant deaths at record lows.

Plunket Clinical Advisor Allison Jamieson says it shows that safety messages are getting through.

“Plunket and other agencies have put a lot of work into getting safe sleeping messages out to parents and it’s great to see these messages having an impact.

“It’s always tremendously sad to hear of children dying from preventable causes. Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI, SIDS or cot death) is the main preventable reason for death in children under the age of one.

“Babies spend a lot of time sleeping so it’s really important that parents and caregivers are aware of the things they can do to help reduce the risks of SUDI”.

Jamieson says that one of the risk factors for SUDI is sharing a bed with others.

“The safest place for all babies to sleep is in their own safe sleeping space, this is particularly important if they are vulnerable.

“The promotion of the importance of setting up a ‘baby safe’ place - such as wahakura (woven flax cradle), and ‘pepi-pod’ may have helped reduce the number of deaths for Māori infants”.

Plunket says that although the latest figures are encouraging, it would be great to see the number reduced even further.

There are 6 protective factors all parents should be aware of at all times to protect their babies from SUDI (SIDS or cot death):
• A smoke-free pregnancy and household
• On their back for sleep
• A clear face and head – free from hazards that can lead to suffocation (such as pillows, bedding and toys)
• To be close to parents when asleep – in the same room, but in their own bed
• Breastfeeding
• Sleep in their own safe place, especially if born premature, born small, or not smoke free. A safe sleep place is important so that they can’t roll face down and suffocate on soft surfaces, or get stuck against things on couches, chairs, or adult beds.

– ENDS –

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