Professor Ed Mitchell
SUDI Academic Expert
Auckland University

Ed Mitchell qualified at St George’s Hospital Medical School in London and has worked in the UK, Zambia and New Zealand.

He was the Cure Kids Professor of Child Health Research at the University of Auckland from 2001 to 2015 and is now a Professorial Research Fellow. He has published over 400 original papers, particularly on the epidemiology of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). He was awarded a Doctor of Science for his work on “The Epidemiology and Prevention of SIDS” by the University of London. He has received several awards for his landmark studies of SIDS and in 2009 was made a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Professor Ed Mitchell answers questions from the community.

I am so worried about my baby dying of SUDI that I get up several times a night to check my baby. My husband tells me I shouldn’t worry.

I was sorry to hear that about your worry over SUDI. Infants of families that follow the recommended infant care practices (non-smoker, room sharing but not bed sharing, back sleeping and breastfeeding) are at very low risk of SUDI. In our recent study we calculated there would be only 6-7 deaths per year in New Zealand if these recommended advice was followed by all. This is a dramatic reduction from the 250 deaths a year that occurred in the late 1980s. There are of course some things which one cannot alter after the baby is born, such as low birthweight. We hope to implement a SUDI risk calculator which will give the absolute risk of death and identify which families need additional support.

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