Family

Life-saving baby sleep pods get Government backing

More families will have access to the Pepi Pods.

Life-saving portable baby sleep pods will now be funded by the government.

Pepi-pods allow babies to sleep with their parents without the risk of accidental suffocation. They have been credited with preventing 25 cases of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) a year since their introduction 2006.

The Ministry of Health had previously refused to fund the sleeping pods because of a lack of evidence they helped keep babies safe. However, after the Health Minister, Jonathan Coleman, met with leading cot death expert Professor Ed Mitchell, the decision was reversed.

"In light of our discussion, I have asked Ministry of Health officials… to develop a national safe-sleep programme that incorporates the appropriate use of safe-sleeping spaces," Dr Coleman wrote to Professor Mitchell on Monday, the New Zealand Herald reports.

"I think it's going to be quite a dramatic effect. The problem with the programme up until now is that we haven't been able to cover all the vulnerable babies," Professor Mitchell told Newstalk ZB.

He said education will also be included in the scheme, and that will make a big difference. He believes it could cut SUDI cases from 50 to five a year.

New Zealand has one of the worst rates of SUDI in the developed world.