Pēpi-Pod® are to be distributed to new families across Queensland, Australia next month.
This new safe sleep programme is aimed at reducing the number of babies dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
The move comes as part of a wider programme to decrease infant mortality rates in the country.
Pēpi-Pod® Introduced To Reduce SIDS Deaths
Authorities have been looking at ways they can reduce the number of potentially preventable deaths.
Pēpi-Pod® are small plastic tubs that provide a safe sleeping environment for babies whose parents choose to bedshare. The pods are designed to sit on the bed and create a protected place for the baby to sleep.
They keep the parents at a safe distance and protect the baby from dangers such as loose blankets, cot bumpers and overheating.
The Queensland Government will be distributing 600 Pēpi-Pod® to mothers aged between 15 and 25 during August, along with safe sleeping information to educate new parents about the risk factors for SIDS.
The programme will focus on mothers from Indigenous communities where the risk of SIDS is four times higher than the rest of Australia.
Infant sleeping pods were first used as started as emergency beds for vulnerable babies in Christchurch, New Zealand, following the 2011 earthquakes.
The pods were trialled in indigenous communities in New Zealand and the country saw a drastic reduction in the number of SIDS deaths. The trial also resulted in increased breastfeeding rates amongst participants.
The pods are designed for use with babies from birth up until the age of five months. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a media statement:
“Safe sleeping arrangements are absolutely vital and provide a starting point to keep babies and young children safe at home…Pēpi-Pod® have made a real difference in helping reduce infant mortality in New Zealand by up to 30 per cent over the last four years, so I’m pleased that hundreds of young Indigenous mothers right here in Queensland will be able to use them, in conjunction with education and health support.”
Indigenous communities are reported to have higher rates of smoking during pregnancy. This, combined with bed-sharing can prove problematic for babies.
The Pēpi-Pod® programme aims to solve this problem by providing a safe sleeping solution to at-risk families whilst also providing antenatal education to better educate families about the potential risks.
You can read the full press release here.