A leading cot death expert has convinced the Government to fund life-saving baby bassinets for new parents.
Pepi-pods have been credited with preventing 25 cases of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) a year since their introduction 2006. They allow babies to sleep with their parents without the risk of being accidentally suffocated.
As recently as July the Government was refusing to fund the pods, and last year told district health boards not to spend money on them.
But Dr Coleman had a change of heart after discussing the pods with Prof Ed Mitchell, who has long backed the life-saving innovation.
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 Ed Mitchell on Monday, reports the New Zealand Herald.
Prof Mitchell told the paper he read the letter from Dr Coleman over and over because he couldn't believe it.
"This is a very clear endorsement from the minister, and I'm really delighted to be quite frank."
He believes it could cut SUDI cases from 50 to five a year.
New Zealand has the worst rate in the developed world, with Maori the worst-affected, accounting for 60 percent of all cases.