Emeritus Professor Ed Mitchell
Emeritus Professor Ed Mitchell
All research projects

Monitoring mortality and risk factors for SUDI

Awarded $98,120 in funding
Over 18 months, starting in 2021

Sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI)

Sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) includes first-year deaths classified as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ill-defined and unknown cause of mortality, or accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.

The impact of the Safe Sleep programme

Between 2009 and 2015, first-year mortality decreased by 29% in New Zealand. This was attributed to the Safe Sleep programme.

This programme recommends that babies sleep in their own safe sleep space in the parental bedroom. Direct bed sharing is discouraged, but placing babies in wahakura or Pepi-pod safe sleep devices (SSDs) enables the baby to bed share safely with the parents. However, supplies of SSDs were limited.

But SUDI deaths are increasing

In 2017, a national sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) prevention programme, which provided SSDs, was funded by the Ministry of Health. Unexpectedly, first-year mortality has since increased, especially for Maori infants.

Professor Mitchell is leading a study to find the cause

Professor Mitchell’s study aims to understand what might be causing this increase, to inform the national SUDI prevention programme.

The cases and prevalence of risk factors will be compared with that collected in the nationwide SUDI case-control study, which Professor Mitchell and his team conducted from 2012 to 2015.

Proudly supported by Cure Kids

By funding Professor Mitchell’s study, Cure Kids is helping to build knowledge that can be used to modify the SUDI prevention programme and reduce SUDI mortality.

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