Queensland research into baby sleep routines to save lives

A University of the Sunshine Coast research team is conducting one of the largest studies ever into sudden and unexpected infant deaths in Queensland.

Woman and Baby Image for USC Story Aug 2017

The researchers will next week send surveys across the state to families with babies born during April and May this year asking how they care for their infants and the sleep routines they usually use.

Chief project investigator USC Professor of Nursing Jeanine Young, who is on Red Nose’s National Scientific Advisory Group, said despite two safe sleeping public health campaigns since 2002, Queensland had one of the highest rates of unexplained infant death in the nation over the past decade.

“By better understanding how parents use advice and public health recommendations to care for their babies, we hope to reduce the rate of fatal sleeping accidents and sudden infant deaths,” Professor Young said.

“The Infant Care Awareness and Routines Evaluation Among Queenslanders study is the first of this kind in 15 years, and is supported as a priority by the State Coroner and Red Nose.”

The research team includes USC and Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service Senior Research Fellow Dr Lauren Kearney and USC PhD candidate and paediatric clinical nurse Roni Cole.

Ms Cole said the findings would be used to shape future public health campaigns and safe sleeping messages to help ensure healthcare professionals, parents and carers were provided with the most up-to-date advice available.

“Each week, around two babies under the age of 12 months die suddenly and unexpectedly in Australia,” said Ms Cole.

“Previous research clearly demonstrates that some infant care practices are associated with increased risk of babies dying; while others may protect babies.”

Red Nose is encouraging families who receive an invitation to participate in the study.

“By sharing their experiences, parents and carers can play an important role in helping reduce the number of families who experience the sudden and unexpected death of a child,” Red Nose CEO Theron Vassiliou said.

Families seeking further information can contact Roni Cole at roni.cole@research.usc.edu.au. To register for information on future research projects exploring the care of infants and children, click here.