We are thrilled to announce that Perpetual Guardian has confirmed ongoing funding for further Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) research over the next two years, totalling $235,000.
The next phase of the funding will enable a pilot study of the Safe Sleep Calculator at Counties Manukau DHB, with a view to roll it out across New Zealand. It is hoped, ultimately, this will reduce the rates of SUDI occurrence and eliminate the inequality of rates experienced by Maori and Pacific people.
Each year around 44 babies die in New Zealand from SUDI, with 8-10 of these babies being from South Auckland. SUDI can be prevented for most babies, and yet New Zealand rates remain higher than all other developed nations. We need to be both systematic and effective with interventions.
Early assessment is necessary as 20+ deaths occur in the first 6 weeks of life, and once infant care practices are established they may be difficult to change subsequently.
The Safe Sleep Calculator is a web-based SUDI risk assessment tool that aids healthcare professionals in identifying risk factors and any association between them. Using this information, carers can provide guidance and advice to parents and caregivers. Research shows that 90% of SUDI cases would be deemed in the “high risk” group using the Safe Sleep Calculator. This makes it an excellent prioritisation tool to maximise the impact of risk-mitigating interventions, such as providing a safe sleep space, known as a pepi pod or wakakura, to discourage the risk of bed-sharing.
Success in this programme will inform a wider roll-out to other areas where SUDI rates are high. There has already been considerable interest internationally (Australia, USA and UK) in adopting this revolutionary approach to targeted prevention.