Co-sleeping is a culturally valued practice by many Indigenous families, however is associated with sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) in hazardous circumstances. This study aimed to evaluate a safe sleep strategy in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with high risk for SUDI.
A project team from USC have collaborated with Change for our Children Limited in New Zealand for the first trial of a safe sleep enabler in Australia. The Pēpi-Pod Safe Sleep Program was initiated in New Zealand by Change for our Children in 2011 as a public health response for babies at a higher risk of SUDI.
The Pēpi-Pod® Program, comprising a safe sleep enabler, safe sleeping parent education and safety briefing; and family commitment to share safe sleeping messages in social networks, was delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with identified SUDI risks, recruited through Queensland maternal and child health services (n=10 services, 25 communities) across metropolitan, regional and rural/remote areas.
Program acceptability and feasibility was established and raised awareness of safe sleeping in communities. Families reported benefits including safety, convenience and portability. Partnering health services reported that the program was feasible, flexible, sustainable, and built local workforce capacity with integration into current service models.
This project was recognised with two national awards in 2014:
- Winner, HESTA Australian Nursing Awards - Team Innovation
- National Winner, National Lead Clinicians Group Award for Excellence in Innovative Implementation of Clinical Practice (Indigenous Health Category).
This is the first evaluation of a safe sleep enabler in Australia. Evaluating innovative and culturally respectful strategies to reduce SUDI risk through enabling safe sleep environments, which support community ownership, develop multidisciplinary team skills, and reorient services from safe sleep advice to safe sleep action, will better inform the evidence-base used by educators, clinicians, researchers and policy makers in supporting parents and reducing infant deaths.
Please contact Professor Jeanine Young, Chief Investigator, Australian Pepi-Pod® Program.
Recruitment information for partnering sites in the Pēpi-Pod® Program:
- Inclusion criteria
- Consent form (PDF 194KB) *
- Family information sheet
- Safety briefing card
- Form A - Family Details (PDF 306KB) * (at recruitment)
- Form B - 2 week check (PDF 182KB) *
- Form C - Parent Questionnaire (PDF 410KB) * (ideally monthly until pod use ceases)
- Materials Toolkit (PDF 4.9MB)
* For PDF documents you must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe Download page.