10 Jun 2010

Otago researchers get $1.2m to cut Maori cot deaths

10:47 pm on 10 June 2010

Otago University researchers have been given $1.2 million by the Health Research Council to look at ways to reduce the high rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) among Maori babies.

Lead researcher David Tipene-Leach says he and Professor Barry Taylor will study factors such as breast feeding rates, sleep duration and bonding between mother and infant.

He told Waatea News they will also assess the use of the wahakura; the woven flax basket that was introduced three years ago to ensure separation between parents and baby sharing a bed.

Dr Tipene-Leach says about 30 of the 50 babies who die each year from SIDS are Maori.