$70,000 committed to first year of 3-year genetic study

River’s Gift pledge to commit to funding world leading SIDS research

In July 2019 the first year of a 3-year project commenced, a project to enable the research group of Professor Leanne Dibbens at the University of South Australia in collaboration with Professor Robert Vink and Professor Roger Byard, of the University of Adelaide, to generate a DNA biobank for babies who have died of SIDS, in order to find possible genetic causes for this devastating condition.

Professor Dibbens group has a long track record in gene discovery in human disorders and the creation of biobanks and will now use this approach in collaboration with River’s Gift to study SIDS deaths. Her laboratory will use state of the art genomic technologies established in the laboratory to look for causes of SIDS with the aim of being able to identify early those babies who are most at risk, so that this risk can be reduced and thus prevent further unexpected deaths from happening.

Collaborative Research Partnership

Between April-September 2018, River’s Gift partnered with LaTrobe University, Safe Sleep Space and Soteria Safe Sleeping Advice in conducting an ethics approved Safe Sleep and Settling Knowledge survey.

The survey was conducted amongst more than 2,000 Australian participants and, disturbingly, it was found that there were substantial shortfalls in safe sleep and settling knowledge amongst portions of the participant cohort. The research paper is currently in development, with anticipation for it to be published in late 2019.

Global research evidence clearly represents that safe sleep practices heavily reduces the risk of an Apparent Life Threatening Event (ALTE) in sleep, helping to protect the lives of infants in their first year of life. Safe sleep practices play a major part in eliminating fatal sleep accidents and SIDS cases in infants, as current day research clearly shows that reducing potential stressors on infants is a critical piece of solving the SIDS puzzle.

Leveraging off the research project, a pilot safe sleep education program is being undertaken with the clear-cut objective of optimising safe sleep knowledge of Geelong parents, grandparents, health professionals and caregivers; helping to ensure the safety and survival of infants in our region. Beyond completion of the pilot program in late 2019, River’s Gift aim to continue delivering vital education services in 2020 onwards to key markets in Geelong, with an aim of extending the program nationwide in the future.