Safe Sleep Day

Today is National Safe Sleep Day - Te Rā Mokopuna. It is a time to raise awareness of the impact of SUDI on whānau in Aotearoa, and to advocate for best practice prevention activities.

The SUDI Prevention Coordination Service at Hāpai Te Hauora tracks national trends in the known risk factors for, and incidence of SUDI.

"What we have seen in the last year is persistent inequities for Māori both in the experience of SUDI and the prevalence of risk factors among whānau Māori," says Selah Hart, Chief Executive Officer of Hāpai Te Hauora. "While it is promising to see a decrease in smoking rates among wahine hapū (pregnant women), the underlying structural issues for our whānau remain. Until food and housing insecurity and other consequences of poverty and social inequality are addressed, it’s unlikely we will see a meaningful decrease in smoking rates and other sequelae of deprivation such as SUDI."

"We’re deeply concerned about the impact of the increasingly fraught national economic situation, with the rising cost of living and the predictions of a recession, in this context. We can’t lose sight of those who are likely to suffer the most in an economic downturn; our tamariki mokopuna."

The SUDI Prevention Coordination Service provides engagement, communications and workforce development nationwide to local SUDI prevention coordinators. Fay Selby-Law, General Manager - SUDI Prevention notes progress in the development of cultural safety among the clinical workforce but emphasizes that there is more work to be done.

"We still do not have a workforce with a depth of knowledge of te ao Māori and the ability to use this knowledge to support whānau in SUDI prevention. There is a direct link between this deficit, and the huge inequities for Māori in the experience of SUDI. We have seen the benefit of community-led responses in SUDI prevention, but there are still insufficient resources available for communities to take ownership of this mahi. We strongly recommend more focus on building a culturally safe workforce and empowering community to lead this work."

What is National Safe Sleep Day?

The aim of National Safe Sleep Day - Te Rā Mokopuna is to raise awareness about Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants (SUDI), with the vision of reducing the rate in which it occurs in our New Zealand families and communities. SUDI is preventable, and the risk factors for our babies can be significantly reduced should the rights steps be implemented.

What is the SUDI Prevention Coordination Service?

Hāpai is responsible for coordinating a national, integrated approach to SUDI prevention in Aotearoa. Our whakapapa as a Māori public health organisation over 25 years drives our philosophy which places health and wellbeing of tamariki mokopuna and whānau at the centre of everything we do.

Our goal is to reduce the incidence of SUDI in Aotearoa across all our communities to 0.1 in 1000 liveborn infants by 2025. To achieve this we work with local coordinators and national experts to promote best practice solutions which sit alongside complementary health targets like Smokefree 2025.

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