June 02, 2017
Smoking and bed sharing biggest cot death risk
The number of babies that die in New Zealand from sudden unexpected death in infancy risk could be reduced to as few as seven a year – but that would require tackling the major risk factors of maternal smoking and bed sharing.
A three year SUDI Nationwide Study by University of Auckland researchers published in the New Zealand Medical Journal has confirmed and quantified many of the risk factors identified in the landmark New Zealand Cot Death Study in the 1980s.
There were 137 SUDI cases during the three years, giving a mortality rate of 0.76 per 1000 live births.
The rate for Maori was twice that at 1.41 per 1000, Pacific 1 per1000 and the Pakeha rate 0.5 per 1000.
Lead researcher, Professor Edwin Mitchell, says despite a major reduction in overall infant mortality, the rate of sudden unexpected death in infancy in New Zealand is high by international standards, and is even higher in Maori.
Maternal smoking in pregnancy was found to lead to a six fold increased risk and bed sharing a five fold increase.
The combination of maternal smoking in pregnancy and bed sharing is extremely hazardous for infants, with a 32-fold increased risk.
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