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Southern DHB raising awareness of safe sleep practices

National Safe Sleep Day - Southern DHB raising awareness of safe sleep practices

Southern parents with young babies are being reminded of safe sleep practices to protect their children and reduce the chance of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) on National Safe Sleep Day tomorrow (Friday 7 December).

SUDI is a term which refers to the unexpected death of an infant through unintentional suffocation and previously unidentified illnesses in the babies affected. The aim of National Safe Sleep Day is to raise awareness of safe sleep practices and reduce the SUDI rate in our communities.

Each year approximately 44 babies are lost in New Zealand as a result of SUDI, and many of these deaths can be prevented.

“It’s heartbreaking when this happens to a family and we really want to make sure that we get the message out about safe sleep practices to our communities and that there are simple ways that can prevent SUDI,” says Southern DHB Director of Midwifery, Jenny Humphries.

In association with Pregnancy Help, Queen Mary Maternity Centre is displaying information about safe sleep practices in the unit. Parents are encouraged to adopt ‘PEPE’, a framework developed by SUDI prevention advocates. It is based on the best available evidence about how to prevent SUDI:

Place baby in their own bed. Consider placing baby safely in a wahakura (woven bassinet for infants) or pēpi-pod if co-sleeping is desired.
Eliminate smoking during pregnancy and protect baby with a smokefree whānau, whare and environment. The wider whānau can also provide support to mum by also becoming smokefree.
Position baby flat on their back to sleep.
Encourage and support mum to breastfeed.
Support for pregnant women to protect their babies by becoming smoke free is available through the Southern Stop Smoking Service. The service runs a stop smoking incentive programme for pregnant women offering coaching, vouchers and free patches gum and lozenges.

The DHB also offers pepi-pods to families with young babies, who have a high risk of SUDI, to help keep the baby safe while sleeping.

“By following the simple steps of PEPE, parents, families and whanau can help to prevent SUDI. We want to encourage everyone who has a baby or cares for a baby to be aware of PEPE, and that there are supports available for mum’s to be that smoke to make sure that every sleep is a safe sleep,” says Ms Humphries.

For more information:

• Speak to your midwife, Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse, doctor or practice nurse
• Ring PlunketLine on 0800 933 922
• Visit the Ministry of Health website
• Contact the Southern Stop Smoking service - Referral from hospital, GP, health professional or self-referral. Freephone 0800 925242. Email:
• For Pēpi-pods – Visit the SHDB website, talk to your midwife or email


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