New 'pods' keep baby safe and snug

WRAPPED UP: Agnes Limon keeps a close eye on  baby Dash, 5 months, who is sound asleep in his new pepi-pod.
WRAPPED UP: Agnes Limon keeps a close eye on baby Dash, 5 months, who is sound asleep in his new pepi-pod.

Dash Limon, just 5 months old, has a new wee bed to sleep in.

Called a pepi-pod, the portable beds are designed to provide a safe sleeping space for babies at high risk of accidental suffocation, including babies that sleep in an adult's bed, couch or in makeshift situations.

Dash's mum Agnes comes from the Philippines, where it is rare for a baby under 2-years-old to sleep in a cot.

Mrs Limon said she knew it was not ideal for Dash to sleep with her, but sometimes he wouldn't settle.

Dash qualifies for a pepi-pod because he was born three months premature.

The Taranaki District Health Board programme is targeting vulnerable babies who are Maori, born to mothers under 20-years-old, exposed to any smoking in pregnancy, drug or alcohol abuse, are premature (fewer than 36 weeks gestation), or of low birth weight (less than 2500 grams) and live in high deprivation areas, Pepi-pod co-ordinator Merry Sorensen said.

The pepi-pods can be taken anywhere and can be wedged in-between adults in an adult bed, she said.

The DHB has 184 pepi-pods to give away and is looking to raise support to get more.

They are free and the only obligation on the mother is to spread the word and pass them on to friends or relatives, Mrs Sorensen said.

"Take a picture and put it on Facebook."

There were 19 deaths from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy in Taranaki between 2002 and 2011. Sixteen of these were Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

"Once the pepi-pods are introduced, hopefully the stats will go down."

There is a special way to tuck the babies in and mothers will be educated on safe sleeping, she said.

Clinical services manager, maternal and child health, Leigh Cleland said the pods would be distributed according to needs and in correlation with Maori whanau per capita within Taranaki.

"It would be expected that more would be distributed in the South Taranaki region as there are more Maori families there."

Taranaki Daily News