Material Appropriation for Infant Mortality Reduction: Troubling the discourse

Debbie Watson, James Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


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)107-123
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Material Culture
Issue number2
Early online date8 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


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