Toddlers learn infant sleep safety
Alarming numbers of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Southland and the rest of the country have prompted Southern District Health Board public health nurse and child youth mortality coordinator Sharon Ayto to educate people on how to prevent the deaths, starting with ‘‘the little ones’’.
A two-year project hopes to educate early childhood educators, parents and other adults on how they can show toddlers how babies should sleep safely.
Through doll-play, Ayto had the idea to promote safe sleep for babies with the message ’’Face Up – Face Clear – Safe Place’’.
With a team of experts, she created an innovative new film featuring pre-schoolers learning safe sleep practices in doll-play, which aimed to create future generations who know safe sleep practice and help reduce the number of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy cases.
She hoped safe practices would ‘‘breed into’’ future generations so they would grow up knowing what to do.
‘‘Numbers [of deaths] are dropping off but it’s still too many.’’
Every year in New Zealand about 50 babies die from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI), which can occur when infants are sleeping in an unsafe sleep environment, Ayto said.
‘‘Numbers [of deaths] in Southland are pretty high.’’
In the Southland-Otago region, the Southern District Health Board found from 2005 to 2014, there were 21 deaths from Sudden Unexpected Death (SUDI) in infancy, of which 17 were from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
She came up with the concept to make a video showing toddlers how to put their ‘‘babies’’ to sleep so in the future it would be ‘‘natural’’ for them to put a baby, whether it be a sibling or their own, to bed.
‘‘This is an opportunity to guide tomorrow’s parents in safe sleep practices.’’
In 2015 the idea won the ‘Southern Innovation Challenge’ and Ayto received $10,000 towards the creation of this short educational film to show early childhood teachers and support staff how to model safe sleep practices.
‘‘The children picked it up really quickly.
‘‘This is just the beginning.’’
She has plans to have the film in te reo, and write a book.
Southern District Health Board public health nurse and child youth mortality coordinator Sharon Ayto.