Sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI)

This section presents data and statistics on sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI). You can download factsheets from the Downloads box.

Exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risk of SUDI in young children [1].  In particular, evidence shows an increased risk of SUDI for infants whose mother smokes [2].

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In 2015 there were 41 deaths from SUDI
Higher SUDI rates for Māori and Pacific babies, and in more deprived areas
Tairawhiti and Lakes DHBs had the highest SUDI rates in 2011-15
Information about this data

In 2015 there were 41 deaths from SUDI

In 2015, 41 children under one year of age (<1 year) died from SUDI in New Zealand.  This is a rate of 0.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. 

Since 2000, the number (and rate) of SUDI deaths has decreased (Figure 1). 

Figure 1: Number of SUDI deaths, 2000–2015
SUDI fig 1

Higher SUDI rates for Māori and Pacific babies, and in more deprived areas

In 2011–15, SUDI rates were higher for Māori (1.5 deaths per 1,000 live births) and Pacific babies (1.1 deaths per 1,000 births) than babies in other ethnic groups (Figure 2).

Figure 2: SUDI deaths per 1,000 live births, by ethnic group, 2011–15

sudi fig 2

Babies living in the most deprived areas had a much higher SUDI rate (1.4 deaths per 1,000 live births) than those in the least deprived areas (Figure 3).

Figure 3: SUDI deaths per 1000 live births, by NZDep2013 quintiles, 2011–15
sudi fig 3

Tairāwhiti and Lakes DHBs had the highest SUDI rates in 2011–15

In 2011–15, the District Health Boards (DHBs) with the highest SUDI rates were Tairawhiti and Lakes DHBs. 

See the factsheet for more details (in the Downloads box).

Information about this data 

Sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI)

Source: Fetal and Infant Deaths 2015 [3]

Definition: Deaths in children aged under one year of age (<1 year old) with an underlying cause of death in the following ICD-10AM codes: R95, R96, R98, R99, W75, W78, W79. Rates are presented per 1000 live births.

For more information, see the metadata sheet. 

References

1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2007. Children and Secondhand Smoke Exposure. Excerpts from The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health. 

2. Anderson HR, & Cook, D. 1997. Passive smoking and sudden infant death syndrome: review of the epidemiological evidence. Thorax, 52, 1003-1009.

3. Ministry of Health. 2018. Fetal and Infant Deaths 2015. Wellington: Ministry of Health.