21 Mar 2013

Maori agency warns about safe sleeping for babies

7:54 pm on 21 March 2013

An organisation working to prevent sudden infant deaths says Maori parents should not share beds with their babies without sticking to stringent safety precautions.

Earlier this month, a Maori couple was sentenced to supervision after a baby died while sleeping with the mother. It was the second of her babies to die in similar circumstances.

The agency, Whakawhetu National SUDI Prevention for Maori, says there are about 60 cases of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy a year.

Its general manager Kodi Hapi says up to 40 of those cases are Maori.

She says the majority of Maori babies are exposed to high risk factors that make them more susceptible, such as cigarette smoke and being placed on their stomachs to sleep.

Ms Hapi says teaching parents to use a waha kura (pod) is one way of ensuring a baby has its own space if they are going to sleep with it.