Usage and impact of an online education tool for preventing sudden unexpected death in infancy


  • Conflict of interest: No conflict of interest known.
  • Author information: Stephanie Cowan, Director, Sharon Bennett, Innovations Coordinator, Change for our Children Limited, Christchurch.

Correspondence: Mrs Stephanie Cowan, Change for our Children, PO Box 36 406, Christchurch 8146, New Zealand. Fax: +64 (0) 3353 9269; email:



This paper describes the usage, impact and reach of an online education tool for preventing sudden infant death.


A 24-slide presentation was formatted for online access. Content was designed for mainstream audiences to align current knowledge, attitudes and actions for a blitz approach to preventing sudden infant death in New Zealand (NZ). The tool was promoted through a network of ‘safe sleep’ champions across the country and collected basic information on usage, reach and impact.


From 3286 completed online sessions between 18 November 2009 and 31 December 2011, there were 2683 (81.7%) with complete data. Average usage was 24.4 completed sessions/week, over a 2-year period, at a cost of NZD1.11 per completed session. Usage reached across regions, ethnic groups and roles. On completion of the course, most rated highly (7–9/9) (68.8%) their ‘increased confidence’ to discuss infant sleep safety with others. A high increased confidence rating was significantly influenced by spending more time per slide (P < 0.05) and being Maori, Pacific, Asian or ‘other’ compared with NZ European (P < 0.05).


This simple online education tool achieved its aims of high usage, broad participation and cost-effective impact on increasing confidence to discuss infant sleep safety with others. e-Learning modes should be considered where there is a need to align large numbers of people in a short time with understandings and actions for addressing a specific health issue.