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Encouraging Outcome for Māori Babies

Encouraging Outcome for Māori Babies

Whakawhetu, New Zealand’s leading Māori organisation for sudden infant death prevention, welcomes the release of figures showing the number of Māori infant deaths at record lows.

General Manager, Kodi Hapi says that it is encouraging to hear about the low rates of Māori infant mortality, but there is still work to be done to protect our babies from sudden infant death.

Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) is the leading cause of death for children under the age of one. Every year 60 babies die in their sleep. Many of these babies are Māori and most of these deaths were preventable.

“The preventable loss of a single Māori baby is one too many” says Kodi “We should not become complacent; we need to remain focussed on SUDI prevention and continually look for ways to improve.”

Many whānau are courageously changing their parental practices and beating their smoking addiction to protect their babies. This has greatly contributed to the outcome and so many more lives can be saved if we continue to stay focussed. We all need to work together so that whānau can make every sleep a safe sleep for their little ones.

“We have taken a multi-pronged approach” says Kodi. “Changes are happening at a policy level, in workforce development and with whānau. There is no one solution to this problem; we need to work strategically together, as a sector.”

While the solution may not be simple, the message is simple. Whakawhetu has developed an acronym and song to remind whānau how to protect their baby from SUDI. P E P E is the Māori word for baby and stands for;

1. PLACE baby in their own baby bed, in the same room as a caregiver.

2. ELIMINATE smoking in pregnancy, in the home and in the car

3. POSITION baby on their back to sleep

4. ENCOURAGE mums to breastfeed.

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