Pepi-pod® sleep spaces for more vulnerable babies
What is a pepi-pod sleep space?
Pepi means baby in Maori and pod is symbolic of protection in nature. A pepi-pod sleep space is a general purpose storage box that converts to a baby sized bed with the addition of an attractive cover, fitting mattress and bedding. It offers babies a protected space when they sleep in, or on, an adult bed, on a couch, in a makeshift setting, or away from home. These are situations that research has identified with a higher risk of accidental suffocation for babies.
Why do we need these?
We have developed the pepi-pod programme as support for families and protection for their babies. We hope it will help put an end to sudden infant deaths in New Zealand. The Canterbury earthquakes of 2011 made the pepi-pod project urgent and famous. Now other regions are looking to offer pepi-pods, too.
Who are they for?
Pepi-pods are not for all babies. They are a public health solution to the increased risk of sudden infant death for certain babies in certain conditions. The babies to benefit from pepi-pods are those with a weakened drive to breathe due to smoking in pregnancy, being premature, a low birth weight, formula fed or for some other reason. Such babies have a weakened 'wake-up' response relative to other babies. They are slow to detect danger when oxygen levels reduce.
What is the Pepi-Pod® programme?
Pepi-pods are only available from accredited agencies who accept the terms and conditions of distribution to families. They are heavily subsidised and, for this reason, cannot be made available to the public generally.
The pepi-pod is central to a comprehensive programme of education and support. There are three key components to the programme. The sleep space enables, the safety briefing informs and the expectation that recipients help spread safe sleep awareness empowers.What do we know about how people use pepi-pod sleep spaces?
What regions in New Zealand provide the Pepi-Pod® programme?
Health-funded pepi-pod services are well established in Hawkes Bay and the Waikato where DHBs have committed to a 'whole of reagion' service. Other regions have some services providing pepi-pods e.g. Otara Health in South Auckland and Smokechange in Canterbury. Limited services are developing in Rotorua, Whanganui, Wellington and Nelson-Marlboroughand. For information on local services click the links below.
What do we know about how pepi-pod sleep spaces are used?
We have published two reports of the Pepi-Pod® programme:
- the 2012 report on their distribution and use during non-earthquake times
- the 2011 report of feedback from 100 parents who used the PSS during the Christchurch earthquakes.
Both reports share similar findings from parents that they rated the PSS highly, valuing its support with convenience, safety and settling babies. Overall the PSS were found to enhance sleep safety for these more vulnerable babies.
Close and safe
Babies have a compelling need to be close to a parent, especially when they settle for sleep. Like its sister, the wahakura, the pepi-pod enables babies to be close and safe when in, or on, an adult bed, on a couch, in makeshift settings and when away from home. The pepi-pod is the safe space, but parents must also provide the safe care. This means 'face-up, face clear, smokefree' conditions, and 'in own baby bed if more vulnerable', every time and place a baby sleeps.
What is the pepi-pod package?
We are currently providing a complete package of: sleep space, mattress, cover, 2 base sheets, 2 wrap around 'settling' sheets, a double layer merino blanket, a thorough safety briefing for families, an education programme for distributors and coordination tools and implementation support for regions. Click the link to see a range of cover designs.
A whole community approach
The Pepi-Pod® programme is community at its best. There is a chain of participation from people sewing, companies supplying subsidised goods and services, managers seeking funding, professionals identifying vulnerable babies, credentialed distributors briefing parents at pick-up, recipients providing safe sleep conditions for their babies and helping to spread the safe sleep education to others.
From our earthquake times
If you would like to see how this service developed through the earthquake year of 2011 we have saved here the record of updates and photos that tell the story of the amazing support provided by the community to provide safe sleep for babies in a time of crisis.
We need feedback
Pepi-pods are a new idea so we need feedback. If you have been invited to give feedback on using the pepi-pod, then click this link 'Pepi-pod User Feedback' to open the survey and thank you for your time. We will post results here when we have them to hand.