May 10, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Too Many Babies are Dying from SUDI

2 min read

Another tragic baby death highlights the importance of protecting babies from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI). Every year between 50-70 babies die from SUDI. In most cases, death may have been prevented if families were strongly supported to protect their babies from SUDI.

Yesterday the NZ Herald reported on the death of a Gisborne baby in February 2009. Coroner Devonports findings were that the mother had been drinking an excessive amount of alcohol and that sleeping in the same bed as her one month old contributed to the death of this precious baby. The events outlined in the article, provide a picture of a desperate mother grasping to understand the tragic loss of her child. says Kodi Hapi from Whakawhetu. What the article fails to point out is the level of support provided to the mother leading up to this heart breaking event. We all have a role in protecting our mokopuna.

In many cases, information and support about sleeping in the same bed as your baby and other SUDI Prevention messages are inconsistent. In response to these issues Whakawhetu National SIDS Prevention for Maori and TAHA Well Pacific Mother and Infant Service are working in partnership to develop a National SUDI Prevention Toolkit, due to launch in February 2012.

Our focus is on developing a quality resource that supports health professionals to deliver consistent accurate advice says Kodi. We are confident in our toolkit, which is being developed under the guidance of Professor Ed Mitchell and Dr Nick Baker. Innovative tools will be available including a safe sleeping poem to help families remember key points about safe sleeping.


  1. Make babys bed safe, no toys to be seen, no comforters, no pillows, no gaps in between.
  2. Place baby to sleep on his back, yes its true. Lay him flat, close to you its essential to do.
  3. And keep that wee face clear from blankets and sheets. Protect babies breathing through the night while he sleeps.
  4. And finally wh?nau make every sleep safe. Because losing your moko is the biggest heartache.

Our hearts go out to the family and the hundreds of families in our country who have lost a baby to SUDI. says Kodi. We are working hard to improve support to families so that every vulnerable mother, like the mother in the NZ Herald article, receives good support, so that they can protect their babies.

For more information please contact:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.