Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation account for more than half of all Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) and are leading causes of post neonatal deaths in infants age 28 days to 1 year in the United States Universal adoption of risk reduction strategies, including supine sleep position and safe sleep environment, is critical for prevention, but adoption among certain high risk groups is low. Teen mothers, especially those in rural, poor, southern states, are particularly at risk due to low compliance with these recommendations. We propose to rigorously test the Generations in Families Talking Safe Sleep (GIFTSS) intervention in a subpopulation of teenaged mothers. We draw upon our experience in successfully implementing educational interventions in high risk populations and will modify Safety Baby Showers (SBS) to include increased focus on safe sleep environment and the needs and preferences of teen mothers. We will conduct a randomized trial that will test this tailored intervention on the sleep-related safety behaviors of teen mothers. In one study arm, the SBS will include not only the teen mothers but also senior caregivers (SCGs) to harness the influence they have in the decision-making of the young mothers regarding infant health and safety issues. Our central hypotheses are H1) teen mothers exposed to an intensive educational intervention will be more likely than controls to appropriately adopt safe sleep practices (supine position and in an appropriate sleep environment) with their infants, and H2) because teen mothers will model their choice of infant sleep position and environment on behavior of their mothers or other significant female senior caregivers, they will be more likely to use those safe sleep practices when they and their mothers or other significant female senior caregivers also participate in tailored education about safe infant sleep. We will test our hypotheses and meet the overall goal of this application by pursuing our specific aims 1) further refining and tailor our existing infant sleep safety intervention tailored to pregnant teens and their mothers or other identified significant female senior caregivers and 2) conducting a randomized controlled trial to determine if the tailored educational intervention both with and without senior caregivers is associated with an increase both knowledge of appropriate safe sleep behaviors and in observed supine infant sleep positioning and appropriate sleep environment among teen mothers.

Public Health Relevance

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation account for more than half of all Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths and represent the first and third leading causes of deaths to infants aged 28 days to 1 year. Teen mothers - particularly those in poor areas - demonstrate many high risk behaviors that contribute to their infants'risk for SIDS and other causes of infant mortality. Interventions tailored specifically to the high risk teen mother are clearly indicated.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Willinger, Marian
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute
Little Rock
United States
Zip Code
Whiteside-Mansell, Leanne; Nabaweesi, Rosemary; Caballero, Alison Rose et al. (2017) Assessment of Safe Sleep: Validation of the Parent Newborn Sleep Safety Survey. J Pediatr Nurs 35:30-35
Aitken, Mary E; Rose, Alison; Mullins, S Hope et al. (2016) Grandmothers' Beliefs and Practices in Infant Safe Sleep. Matern Child Health J 20:1464-71