A good crib is essential for a newborn baby. In many developing countries, however, babies lack cribs that prioritize their health and comfort. In Gujarat, India, mothers use a “ghodiyu”, a cloth swing that rocks the baby to sleep, as a crib. While the benefits of the ghodiyu include swinging comfort for the baby and widespread cultural acceptance, health care workers share concerns about potential detrimental health effects. Barakat Bundle sees this as an opportunity to provide a ghodiyu-inspired crib that adheres to cultural customs while also satisfying up-to-date safety regulations to ensure babies’ health and comfort.
Concerns around safety are paramount because Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also known as “crib death”, is the leading cause of death for infants in their first year of life. About 90% of the 15,000 deaths worldwide caused by SIDS, occur in babies less than 6 months old. Although a rare occurrence, affecting 0.2% of babies worldwide, SIDS is a baffling condition. The cause of “crib death” appears to be accidental suffocation; occurrences of accidental suffocation include a baby’s face being covered by soft bedding, another person rolling on top of the baby (overlay), wedging or entrapment between blankets or mattresses, or being strangled by items such as crib railings. Recent findings suggest that to lower the risk of suffocation, babies should sleep on their backs in their own sleeping environment with no loose blankets, toys, or other items. Babies should not sleep in the same bed as parents, as “co-sleeping” can increase chances of overlay and loose blankets.
A recent study in Pediatrics found that even in the developed world with significant health education on SIDS, parents continue to place their babies in sleep environments with established risk factors for SIDS. Researchers videotaped 160 babies sleeping for one night, at 1 month old, 3 months old, and 6 months old . At 1 month, 91% of babies slept with loose items, like “bedding, bumperpads, pillows or stuffed animals;” at 3 months, this number increased to 93%. Fourteen percent of 1 month old babies (and 33% of 6 month old babies) were not put to sleep on their backs. Thus, even with adequate health education, parents are not always well equipped to prevent SIDS. This makes the task of providing an appropriate sleep space for babies as part of Barakat Bundle even more important.
In Barakat Bundle’s ghodiyu-inspired crib, we want to ensure safe sleeping as per pediatric recommendations by babies can sleep safely on their backs and have adequate mobility inside the crib to decrease chances of suffocation. We are working with health professionals, furniture designers, and of course getting feedback from Indian mothers themselves, to design our safe, comfortable, and culturally acceptable Barakat Bundle crib.