5 Dec 2015

Reduction in number of babies dying in their sleep

9:37 am on 5 December 2015

The number of babies dying in their sleep has gone down.

Forty babies died unexpectedly in their sleep in 2014, compared with an average of 47 per year over the previous five years, the Health Quality Safety Commission said.

Its Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee chairperson Felicity Dumble said the fall was due to greater awareness among health professionals and their communities.

The biggest drop was among Maori families, the most affected group.

The Ministry of Health is now trying to get safe-sleeping advice to the parents of every newborn, through district health boards and community providers.

It suggests babies sleep in their own cot, but in their parents' room, for their first six months.