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A mobile programme of informational videos and messages may improve parents’ adherence to safe sleep practices for infants, new research has found. The researchers tested two different types of educational interventions. The first involved nurses teaching new parents about safe sleep practices for infants while still in the hospital. The the second intervention the mobile programme involved delivering information through e-mails, messages and videos.
Following recommended safe sleep practices can reduce the risk of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID). The recommended safe sleep practices were placing babies on their backs, not on their sides or stomachs; keeping them in the room with the mother but not in the same bed; avoiding soft bedding that could strangle or suffocate infants; and using pacifiers, which has been shown to reduce SIDS risk.
“We’d been looking at the prevalence of safe sleep practices for a long time, and I had been getting really energised about doing a study that takes what we know about safe sleep prevalence and tests an intervention that might help improve the adherence to the ‘gold standard’ safe sleep practices,” said Eve Colson, Professor at Yale School of Medicine, Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, US.
According to the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, mobile videos for educating new parents on safe infant sleep practices achieved rates of 92.5 per cent for back sleeping and 85.9 per cent for room-sharing without bed-sharing, two of the critical steps towards SUID reduction. These rates were much higher than those for the group who received only the in-hospital intervention on safe sleep practices.
In a clinical trial with 1,263 families, “mothers who received a mobile health intervention with regular text or email messages and videos reported statistically significantly higher rates of placing their infants supine to sleep compared with mothers who received control interventions”, the study said.