Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) is a mostly preventable event with well-known risk and protective factors.
SUDI is the most common cause of postneonatal mortality (28 days to 1 year of age) in New Zealand affecting mostly Maaori and Pacific babies5 . The national mortality rate ratio for Maaori is 5.57 (95% CI 3.89-7.98), which is significantly higher than the rates for non-Maaori, non-Pacific babies, with a total of 108 SUDI deaths between 2012 and 20166 . The Pacific SUDI rate ratio from 2012-2016 was 5.07 (95% CI 3.37-7.62) with SUDI making up half (53 of a total of 101) of the Pacific post neonatal deaths. Counties Manukau Health (CMH) has a SUDI rate higher than the national average 7 and while numbers fluctuate year by year, CMH averages approximately 8-10 deaths annually.
CMH has begun testing the implementation of a standardised SUDI risk assessment tool, based on a meta-analysis of five large international SUDI case-control studies. The meta-analysis found that the risk factors for SUDI were interactive and multiplicative in nature, thus making assessments complex. The new Safe Sleep Tool, also referred to as the Safe Sleep Calculator, can compute these complex calculations and is the only algorithm-based, electronic SUDI risk assessment tool available nationally. CMH aims to incorporate the new risk assessment tool within the Safe Sleep Programme, to allow for a holistic programme that both identifies and responds – through accurate and individualised risk assessments, effective follow-ups such as access to baby bed(s) and wrap-around care directed towards high-risk families.
Working alongside CMH, we’re pleased to provide our findings after seeking feedback from mothers, parents and caregivers on the Safe Sleep Tool.