Baby book app guides parents to prevent SIDS

(Credit: Getty Images)

A new mobile app, Baby be Well, offers new parents guidance on safe sleep practices to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The free app is available now for android devices, with the iOS version to follow shortly.

“We focused on making the app an appealing and interactive experience to promote return visits and repeated exposure to the safe infant sleep guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics,” explains Barbara Ostfeld, professor of pediatrics at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University and one of the scientists involved with the app’s development.

“We found that those reminders help maintain awareness and adherence not only when a child is born, but throughout the first year.”

“To encourage return visits, the app is designed as a traditional baby book where parents can upload photographs and milestones and even track day-to-day activities such as feedings,” says Thomas Hegyi, also a professor of pediatrics and involved in the app’s creation.

“Parents can share their personal account with grandparents and other caregivers,” he continues, “therefore, along with the keepsakes and schedules, recipients also receive safe sleep tips and reminders.”

To make the safe sleep advice enjoyable to explore, researchers designed the app to be interactive. In addition to depicting and describing a safe sleep environment that parents can view with each visit to the app, there are ever-changing tips of the day and a question and answer game where users test their knowledge and learn even more about keeping infants safe.

“Encouraging grandparents to become frequent visitors to this app also is important because advice on safe sleep has changed so much since we raised our own children,” notes Ostfeld. “For example, parents are now advised to place infants to sleep on their backs in cribs without bumpers.”

Hegyi and Ostfeld also serve as members of the Research Partnership of the Aaron Matthew Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Research Guild, an international initiative based at Seattle Children’s Hospital Integrative Brain Research Institute.

The program was started by John Kahan, chief data and analytics officer at Microsoft, in memory of his son whose death was attributed to SIDS. Working with volunteers from Microsoft, led by Sushama Murthy, principal data scientist, the team presented the challenge of how to inspire return visits to an educational app, resulting from experience with an app they published previously.

They created the baby book model to ensure continued promotion of safe sleep practices over time that could be shared with friends and family.

Additional contributors to the app’s development came from Rutgers, Microsoft Corp., and Tata Consultancy Services.

Source: Rutgers University