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Journal Article


Mitchell EA, Cowan S, Tipene-Leach D. Acta Paediatr. 2016; 105(11): 1312-1320.


Whakawhetu National SUDI Prevention for Māori, University of Auckland.


(Copyright © 2016, John Wiley and Sons)






AIM: Post-neonatal mortality rates changed very little from 2000 until recently. There has been a decrease in mortality in New Zealand from 2009 to 2015. This paper describes an infant Safe Sleep programme and postulates it is the cause for the recent decrease in deaths.

METHODS: The Safe Sleep programme involved: a focus on preventing accidental suffocation, a blitz approach to SUDI education, the targeted provision of portable infant safe sleep devices (ISSD) and the development of safe sleep policy across all district health boards (DHBs).

RESULTS: Participation in the 'blitz approach' education by health professionals exceeded 1 in 23 live births, distribution of Safe Sleep leaflets exceeded 2 for every live birth, and over 16,500 ISSDs have been distributed to vulnerable infants. Post-perinatal mortality fell 29% from 2009 to 2015 (2.8 to 2.0/1000 live births). The fall has been greatest for Māori and in regions with the most intensive programmes.

CONCLUSION: The recent fall in post-perinatal mortality has not happened by chance. It is likely that the components of end-stage prevention strategy, a focus on preventing accidental suffocation, the education blitz, the targeted supply of ISSDs, and strengthened health policy, have all contributed to varying degrees. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Language: en


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