Today is National Safe Sleep Day - Te Rā Mokopuna Ora, a day aimed at raising awareness about Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI).
One key aspect of this is ensuring babies are sleeping in a safe sleep space, to avoid instances of SUDI through unintentional suffocation.
Te Rā Mokopuna Ora has the vision of reducing the rates in which these deaths occur in our New Zealand families/whānau.
There are many steps that we can take to protect a baby’s life while they sleep:
· Placing baby flat and on their back, ensuring the face is clear (to ensure good oxygen flow through the airways)
· Keeping baby close to parents/carers
· Using gentle hands
· Protect baby with a smokefree environment
· Encourage and support breastfeeding
MidCentral DHB Safe Sleep Coordinator Marama McGrath-McDonald says “SUDI is preventable and the risk factors for our babies can be significantly reduced, Safe Sleep Day is an opportunity to encourage communities and organisations to promote safe sleep practice in creative and fun ways”.
To protect baby while sleeping, Pepi pods and wahakura are a good option. These give baby their own bed/sleeping space and can be used in the same room as their parent or caregiver.
One of the other factors in SUDI is parental smoking. Smoking in pregnancy reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the baby, who then develop as if low oxygen is normal. This means they are less likely to respond to any physical restriction to their breathing after they are born. This could include blankets over their face or other obstructions.
Te Ohu Auahi Mutunga (TOAM) Stop Smoking Service is a free MidCentral DHB regional service offering support for people wanting to make a quit attempt. They support any person who smokes via a 4-6 week program. The service also has a dedicated Quit Smoking Coach who can work with hapu/pregnant mothers and their whānau to support them in becoming smokefree.
The service provides both individual support or group sessions, and can be contacted on 0800 40 50 11 or at email@example.com
If whānau would like to learn to weave a wahakura, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, Mokopuna Ora Coordinator or to access a pepi pod and further information about safe sleep contact email@example.com