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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Oct 2010  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/02/2011  Final
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Contents >> Adult health >> Mothers' and children's health >> Children's sleep habits


MOTHERS' AND CHILDREN'S HEALTH: CHILDREN'S SLEEP HABITS
This article is part of a comprehensive series released as The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.


KEY MESSAGES

In 2008, nearly one in four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years (23%) had problems sleeping in the four weeks before the interview.

Two thirds (66%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants aged up to one year in non-remote areas and 43% of those in remote areas usually slept on their backs.

Sleep is a basic physiological need, important for the growth, development, repair and restoration of the body.

This topic presents results from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) which provides the most recent data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children's sleep habits. Information was collected from a parent or guardian on the sleep experiences of children aged 0–14 years and on the usual sleeping position as well as the number of people who sleep in the same room for children aged 0–3 years. If the parent or guardian was not available, a close relative or other household member who had responsibility for the child provided information about the child.

According to the 2008 NATSISS, nearly one in four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–14 years (23%) had problems sleeping in the four weeks before the interview (13% in remote). Similar proportions of boys and girls experienced problems sleeping. Of those children who had problems sleeping, 19% had problems because of over-excitement and 13% had difficulty due to illness or pain.

To decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the supine position (sleeping on the back) is recommended as the safest sleeping position from birth (Endnote 1). Death from SIDS is the leading cause of mortality in infants aged over one month and under one year, with the highest incidence in infants between one and four months of age (Endnotes 1 and 2). For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged up to one year, those living in non-remote areas were one and a half times more likely to sleep on their back than those in remote areas (66% compared with 43%) in 2008. For children aged 0–3 years, nearly half (45%) usually slept on their back.
ENDNOTES

1. Sids and kids 2003, 'SIDS in Australia 1981-2000: A statistical overview', Sids and kids <www.sidesandkids.org>

2. Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC) 2008, 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance framework Report 2008', AHMAC, Canberra.


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