Professor Helen Ball, Head of Anthropology, Durham University
Dr Charlotte Russell, Parent-Infant Sleep Lab Manager, Durham University
Dr Pete Blair, Reader in Medical Statistics, University of Bristol

Project Summary:

Decisions about infant sleep locations and their safety are often made and implemented during the night in response to unpredictable events. Hazardous parent-infant co-sleeping may occur in this scenario, but parents currently receive little information about sleep sharing safety and risk-mitigation.

As 50% of parents sometimes sleep with their young babies, information about co-sleeping safety and viable options are needed. The proposed intervention aims to encourage the introduction of forethought and planning to co-sleeping scenarios and involves:

  • Facilitating providers to engage in sleep-sharing safety discussions o training providers in sleep-sharing safety
  • Supporting parents to assess their infant’s sleep environment and ameliorate risks via tailored discussions
  • Providing parents with a free infant safer-sleep box (Baby Bed Box) where sleep sharing contraindications exist to avoid hazardous sleep-sharing
  • Providing follow-up coaching for providers and parents.

    This will be a collaborative project between Durham University Parent-Infant Sleep Lab, The Lullaby Trust, UNICEF, Best Beginnings, Sunderland Council & NHS trust and local parents, who will together develop the materials needed for the intervention and its delivery, and assess its feasibility within a high SIDS-risk area. This project will therefore:

  • Assess the acceptability of the components of the new sleep-sharing safety intervention develop and test education and data collection instruments
  • Assess the feasibility and cost of delivering the intervention
  • Identify potential barriers to implementation
  • Develop a full scale intervention programme to be subjected to a randomised clinical trial.