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Knowledge of sudden infant death syndrome prevention strategies in a multicultural, disadvantaged community

Authors

  • Lynn Kemp,

    1. Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation, Part of the UNSW Research Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Elizabeth Harris,

    1. Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation, Part of the UNSW Research Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Roberta Chavez

    1. Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation, Part of the UNSW Research Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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Dr Lynn Kemp, Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation, Locked Bag 7017, Liverpool BC, NSW 1871, Australia. Fax: +61 2 9828 6232; email: l.kemp@unsw.edu.au

Abstract

Aim:  This study assessed levels of maternal knowledge of sudden infant death syndrome prevention strategies in a socio-economically disadvantaged, culturally diverse population.

Methods:  Pregnant women (n = 233) were asked to name three things they could do to reduce the risk of cot death. Answers were marked in accordance with the US National Institute of Child Health and Development guide-lines.

Results:  Of women 51.5% could correctly name two or more strategies that could reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. There was significant difference by the woman’s country of birth: 68.2% of Australian-born women were able to correctly identify two or more strategies, compared with only 37.3% of those born overseas (P < 0.001). Most of the small number of Indigenous women included in the study were able to correctly identify two or more strategies. Year of arrival in Australia, number of previous children, age and level of education were not significantly related to women’s knowledge.

Conclusion:  Knowledge of sudden infant death syndrome prevention strategies was poorer in overseas-born women. Practitioners working with disadvantaged, overseas-born women should give consideration to women’s knowledge of sudden infant death syndrome prevention if current low rates of sudden infant death syndrome deaths are to be maintained.

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