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Kiwi cot trial aims to reduce infant death

Published: 7:25PM Sunday July 14, 2013 Source: ONE News

Doctors in South Auckland are trialling the use of a Kiwi made baby cot, hoping to save lives.

Sixty New Zealand babies die from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) each year, 20 of those in South Auckland alone.

Many Maori and Pacific Island parents prefer for their babies to sleep with them, said trial leader Dr Christine McIntosh.

"The cultural reason may be what their whanau have done, it may be for necessity as they do not have anywhere else for the baby to sleep," said Dr McIntosh.

Mum Hendrix Tamihana says she feels more comfortable when her baby Te Koha sleeps with her.

But recent British Medical Journal research shows co-sleeping brings with it a five-fold increased risk of SUDI.

Co-sleeping accounts for more than 30 of New Zealand's sudden infant deaths each year.

"They can suffocate in many ways, what we call unintentional suffocation, just simply being wedged or having their chin pushed on or squashed up," said Dr McIntosh.

Counties Manukau DHB has now launched a study using New Zealand-designed Pepi-Pod sleep spaces to reinforce the safe sleep message.

Pepi-Pods are small cots designed to sit on a bed, allowing parents to sleep with their babies without the risk.

Hendrix Tamihana is one of 240 parents being recruited for the trial. Half will be monitored with Pepi-Pods, the other half with standard safe sleep education.

Her baby took to it right away, she said.

"He settles in it, he sleeps in it night and day," she said.

Dr McIntosh said the aim is to provide babies with their own bed within the bed.

The parents in the trial will have their use of the Pepi-Pods, which have been supplied by Cure Kids, monitored for four months.