PhD defence

Sleep Safe: Evidence-based Prevention of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy in the Netherlands

PhD candidate F (Floortje) Kanits MSc
Promotor EJM (Edith) Feskens
Co-promotor dr. MP (Monique) L'Hoir
Organisation Wageningen University, Human Nutrition & Health

Fri 29 September 2023 13:30 to 15:00

Venue Omnia, building number 105
Hoge Steeg 2
6708 PH Wageningen
+31 (0) 317 - 484500
Room Auditorium


The sudden and unexpected death of an infant (SUDI) deeply affects families and close relations. Prevention strategies have proven to be effective, leading to decreasing incidences worldwide. However, due to low SUDI rates in the Netherlands, attention for prevention advice can weaken, with increasing incidence rates as a result. This thesis aimed to contribute to effective and evidence-based prevention advice for (future) parents in the Netherlands, considering both monitoring of incidence and infant care practices, and collecting new scientific knowledge. Important SUDI risk factors include prone sleeping position, unsafe beds and/or bed material and bed-sharing. Protective factors include a sleep sack, using a pacifier, room-sharing and breastfeeding. Although Dutch parents are improving in following the safe sleep recommendations, images on social media are often inconsistent with these recommendations. The most important implication of this PhD thesis is to renew attention for SUDI in public health practice, which is evidently needed.