Parent-infant sleep research gets royal approval

By Julie Griffiths on 04 December 2017 Safe Sleep

The Parent-Infant Sleep Lab at Durham University has been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for higher education.

The prize has been awarded to Durham University for ‘leading influential research on parent-infant sleep with a widely-used public information service’.

The lab’s work with more than 5000 parents and babies during the last 20 years has helped to increase parents’ understanding of babies’ sleep, how best to care for them during the night and keep them safe when asleep.

Working together with partner organisations, the lab’s research has helped to reduce rates of SIDS through evidence-based advice for health professionals and parents.

Projects include those that have looked at the risks and benefits of bed-sharing with babies; safer sleeping arrangements for twin babies; physical closeness between mother and baby on the postnatal ward and what this means for breastfeeding; how parents understand infant sleep development; and use of so-called ‘baby bed boxes’.

Director of the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab at Durham University, Professor Helen Ball, said: ‘We have seen some substantial changes in how parents and health professionals think about baby sleep, directly relating to research we have published and shared.

‘To receive recognition for this work via the Queen’s Anniversary Prize is tremendously rewarding, and we are most grateful to all the organisations and individuals who have shared our work and translated it into policy and practice.'

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are awarded every two years by The Queen to honour excellent and innovative work of outstanding public benefit. The prizes will be formally presented at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in February.

Image: Infant Sleep Information Source website