A qualitative study in parental perceptions and understanding of SIDS-reduction guidance in a UK bi-cultural urban community

Publication authors

Crane D.; Ball H.L.


Background: Differences in both Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) rates and infant care practices between white British and South Asians in UK are well known, but research has not yet examined how these two groups understand and implement SIDS-reduction guidance. This study aimed to discover how white British and Pakistani mothers in Bradford recall, understand and interpret SIDS-reduction guidance, and to explore whether and how they implement this guidance in caring for their infants.

Methods: In-depth narrative interviews with 46 mothers (25 white British origin and 21 Pakistani origin) of 8-12 week old infants recruited from the pool of participants enrolled in the ‘Born in Bradford’ (BiB) cohort study.

Results: All mothers were aware of UK SIDS-reduction guidance from leaflets presented to them during antenatal or postnatal interactions with health care providers. Pakistani mothers tended to dismiss the guidance in toto as being irrelevant to their cultural practices; white British mothers dismissed, adapted and adopted aspects of the guidance to suit their preferred parenting decisions and personal circumstances. Many mothers misunderstood or misinterpreted the guidance given and explained their infant care behaviour according to their social and cultural circumstances.

Conclusions: Current SIDS reduction information in the UK does not meet the needs of immigrant families, and is easily misinterpreted or misunderstood by mothers from all sections of the community. Tailored information acknowledging cultural differences in infant care practices is vital, as is greater discussion with all mothers about the reasons for SIDS reduction guidance.