This month’s Focus On… puts the Infant Sleep Information Source under the microscope. The creation of two academics from Durham University, ISIS provides evidence-based information to parents and health-care professionals about normal infant sleep based on the latest research.
Launched: April 2012
Based: Durham University, Parent-Infant Sleep Lab
Staff: Prof Helen Ball and Dr Charlotte Russell
Explain the name: ISIS stands for ‘Infant Sleep Information Source’. We wanted to provide a one-stop-site for research-based information about infant sleep.
Mission statement: To provide evidence-based information about normal infant sleep based upon the latest UK and world-wide research; translated for, and easily accessible to, parents and health-care professionals.
Tell us a bit about what ISIS does: We exist primarily as a website which provides information about normal infant sleep and sleep development; infant sleep safety; the relationship between sleep and feeding; and evidence relating to sleep aids, including dummies, sleep bags, bed-side cots and more. We provide information sheets for HCPs and volunteers to download and print free of charge to use with parents. We also sell these, along with other ISIS merchandise, for those wishing to use in bulk or to promote our site. We have recently started providing Safe Sleep Workshops, useful for peer-educators and professionals who feel they need tailored information about the latest research evidence, and strategies for communication.
Give us a brief history of ISIS: At the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab we frequently receive queries about infant sleep-related issues from parents, health-care professionals and parents. Nearly three years ago we applied to the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) for funding to develop the ISIS website and provide free and easy access to answers to many of these queries. We were successful, and received one year’s worth of funding which we used to set up the site, with help from our partners UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative, the National Childbirth Trust and La Leche League GB (we have since also welcomed the Breastfeeding Network, Lactation Consultants Great Britain and the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers on board). We now run ISIS on a voluntary basis alongside our normal research and teaching at Durham University.
What has ISIS been up to this month?: Preparing to take ISIS to the UNICEF BFI conference in Glasgow – 27-28th November!
Any plans for the future? To continue to promote awareness of ISIS, particularly among new parents, and NHS staff. We’re also developing plans for an ISIS app for mobile devices, designed for parents to download, and HCPs or volunteers to use in their work with parents.
How is ISIS funded? Now that our ESRC grant has expired we continue to update, develop and promote ISIS as part of our academic outreach activity. Income generated from sales of information sheets, merchandise and workshops helps to fund promotional activities and help with website development.