Red Nose has introduced portable safe sleep spaces known as Pepi-Pods into WA’s Kimberley region this month with the aim of reducing the number of Indigenous babies dying from sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) - the risk of SUDI is about three to four times higher compared with non-Indigenous infants.
Pepi-Pods ensure vulnerable infants have a safe sleeping environment for every sleep, and parents of babies that meet the vulnerability criteria will be offered a Pepi-Pod in exchange for committing to sharing safe sleeping messages with their family’s social network.
Along with safe sleep education, the Pepi-Pods will be distributed to Indigenous families by the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services and Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service.
The Pepi-Pod Safe Sleep Program originated in New Zealand in 2011 by Change for our Children as a public health response for babies at a higher risk of SUDI, and introduction into WA follows a three year trial in Queensland led by the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Professor Jeanine Young, a member of the Red Nose National Scientific Advisory Group
Indigenous families who committed to the Queensland trial perceived the enabler as safe, convenient and portable, and the Queensland government this year committed to fund a safe sleeping program that would distribute a further 600 Pepi-Pods.
Red Nose’s Regional Coordinator, Kristina Coomber, said Red Nose was expecting to partner with additional health organisations within the Kimberly to expand the areas of to which Pepi-Pods are delivered. Services to the Kimberley will be further enhanced when Red Nose employs an Aboriginal Health Officer this year.
The distribution of Pepi-Pods in WA is part of the Reducing the Risk of SUDI in Aboriginal Communities (RROSIAC) program run by Red Nose and funded by the Australian Government.