Reducing Risk for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Babies: Trial of a Safe Sleep Enabler to Reduce the Risk of Sudden Unexpected Deaths in Infancy in High Risk Environments

Red Nose provided a grant to support the first Australian trial of a sleep enabler to reduce the risk of sudden unexpected deaths in infancy in high risk environments.

The primary aim was to determine the acceptability of the Pēpi-Pod Program, a portable infant sleep space, amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland.

The risk of SUDI is three times higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies compared with non-Indigenous infants. Co-sleeping is a common practice particularly for breastfeeding infants, and the cultural norm in many Indigenous communities. However, infant deaths are associated with co-sleeping in hazardous circumstances.

The Pēpi-Pod Program operated in Queensland with 10 governmental and NGO Aboriginal controlled medical organisations across over 20 communities from Queensland’s southeast corner, to the Cape, and across to Mt Isa.

Results indicated that parents perceived the enabler as safe, convenient and portable.

The program received two national awards in 2014: the Hesta Australian Nursing Award for Team Innovation and the National Lead Clinicians Group Award for the Indigenous Maternal and Child Health Category.