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Southern District Health Board Sleep Space Programme is a coordinated approach to delivering infant public health services.

What is the Southern District Health Board Sleep Space Programme?

The Southern District Health Board (DHB) Sleep Space Programme is a coordinated approach to delivering infant public health services, including safe sleep, smokefree, breastfeeding, immunisation and gentle handling, to those most at risk of experiencing Sudden Unexpected Death of an Infant (SUDI). There are three core elements to delivery:

  1. Infant health education
  2. Portable sleep space
  3. Spread of the following safe sleep awareness messages:
    • Babies sleep on their back
    • With airways clear
    • In their own bed
    • With carer near

The three programme components are essential. They facilitate engagement with priority families, offer a safe sleep space and promote a partnership relationship and shared responsibility for protecting the region’s more vulnerable infants.

The Southern DHB Sleep Space Programme is co-ordinated by Public Health South and supported by the national coordination group, Change for our Children.

Local agencies with contracts to support pregnancy and/or new-borns distribute the pods and collect programme data. Their staff undergo programme-specific distributor training.

If your organisation would be interested in becoming a Sleep Space distributor, please email us 

For more information on Pēpi-Pods, visit Change for our children website

Southern DHB is also working on a providing wahakura, which are unique, lovingly hand-woven safe sleep spaces for baby made out of harakeke.  Wahakura also support Māori cultural values of co-sleeping, promote bonding and breastfeeding, and allow parents to respond instantly to baby during the first few weeks of life. 

Who is Eligible for a Southern DHB Pēpi-Pod?

Eligibility for the Southern DHB Sleep Space Programme is based on evidence of increased risk of SUDI. Referrals are encouraged for mothers and babies who meet these criteria.

Sleep Space

Who can Refer a Mother or Baby for a Pēpi-Pod?

Any agency or individual may refer mothers and infants for pods if they meet the Southern DHB Sleep Space Programme criteria. It is also possible for families to refer themselves for a pod.

How to Make a Referral?

To Make a referral please fill in the Sleep Space Assessment section (grey half) of the form below and send through to

What is Available for Families who do not Meet the Pēpi-Pod Criteria?

Where families do not meet programme criteria there is the option of buying a pod using TradeMe (under listing # 819955005). Otherwise, bassinets are available to Dunedin and Invercargill residents from Pregnancy Help Dunedin and Invercargill at no cost.

For further information: