Back to top anchor

Safer sleeping environments: evaluating new options for NZ babies

64 months
Approved budget:
Professor Barry Taylor
Health issue:
Obstetric complications/perinatal care
Proposal type:
Lay summary
Unsafe sleeping environments lead to 40-50 unexpected infant deaths annually in NZ, disproportionately affecting Maori babies. Bed-sharing with baby when the mother smoked in pregnancy is unsafe, but Maori, like other indigenous peoples, have some affinity to bed-sharing, seeing it as promoting breastfeeding and whanau-infant attachment. We will evaluate a Maori ""safe sleeping device"" originating in the Maori community, a woven flax basket called the wahakura, and compare it to the standard bassinet at a number of physiological and practical levels. Recruitment during pregnancy will be followed by randomisation to one of the sleeping environments. Home recording of infra-red video, temperature and oxygen levels during sleep at 1 and 3 months of age, with a final interview at 6 months will take place. Key outcome measures will be time head-covered over-night, average limb temperature, and amount of breastfeeding. The results will support evidence-based recommendations for safe sleeping of infants