Time for the Government to support safe sleeping devices to protect our babies

The Government must support the use of wahakura and pepi-pods to reduce the rate of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI), particularly for Māori babies who are eight times more likely to die in infancy, the Green Party said today.

The NZ Herald reported today that the Government has ignored advice from coroners that wahakura and pepi-pods could reduce the number of children dying from SUDI, and refused to fund their use.

Wahakura are woven baskets that give baby a safe space to sleep in their parents’ bed. Pepi-pods are a plastic alternative.

“The Government is turning its back on a solution that could save lives and allow Māori and Pacific families the opportunity to continue their traditional way of life and keep their babies safe,” said Green Party Māori Development spokesperson Marama Davidson.

“Coroners as far back as eight years ago have been saying that safe sleeping devices such as wahakura could prevent SUDI, so let’s get behind this initiative rather than rubbish it.

“By denying families wahakura and pepi-pods, the Government is stigmatising the traditional parenting practice of co-sleeping and marginalising families who are doing the right thing by their culture. What many New Zealand families need is more bonding and support, not less,” said Ms Davidson.

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