hi-bc-121223-infant-crying

Joanne Bernard says, according to departmental numbers, about 22.5 per cent of children in care are aboriginal, but only 2.7 per cent of the population in Nova Scotia is of aboriginal ancestry. (CBC)

Health officials are hoping an educational toolkit will reduce sudden infant death syndrome in First Nations communities, after it emerged Aboriginal babies in B.C. are four times more likely to die from the syndrome.

The statistics sparked a working group involving the federal and provincial governments and the First Nations Health Authority, with input from First Nations communities, to develop a culturally-appropriate safe sleeping training initiative.

The resulting toolkit - called Honouring Our Babies: Safe Sleep Cards and Guide - includes discussion cards that incorporate cultural beliefs, practices and issues specific to Aboriginal communities.

Health Minister Terry Lake says the SIDS rate among First Nations families in B.C. is heartbreaking and, as a province, we need to find a way to ensure babies aren't at risk.

SIDS is the sudden, unexpected death of a baby under a year old without a clear cause, and usually happens when the baby is sleeping.