Material Appropriation for Infant Mortality Reduction: troubling the discourse

Debbie L Watson*, James Reid

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


Reducing the risk of Sudden and Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) is a priority for infant health care services across the globe. Medical knowledge of risk factors for SUDI are well understood and have been part of public health messaging in the UK since the 1990s. These include the ‘back to sleep’ campaign that focused on newborn sleep position, not over wrapping the infant
and to avoid passive smoke. Whilst progress has been made in reducing SUDI deaths worldwide, there are some infants who remain at high risk. This article adopts a sociomaterial lens to address the potential for material-based interventions to support messages to be tailored in culturally
appropriate ways that do not negate parenting knowledge and practices. We focus on the proliferation of the ‘baby box’ as an example of material appropriation and consider the risks and the potentials for this object as a participant in parenting practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Material Culture
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

Structured keywords

  • SPS Children and Families Research Centre


  • Sociomaterial
  • safe sleep
  • SUDI
  • material appropriation
  • culturally appropriate

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