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1.  Comparison of methods for recruiting and engaging parents in online interventions: study protocol for the Cry Baby infant sleep and settling program 
BMC Pediatrics  2015;15:174.
Background
Anticipatory guidance around the management of sleep and crying problems in early infancy has been shown to improve both infant behaviour and parent symptoms of postnatal depression. Digital technology offers platforms for making such programs widely available in a cost-efficient manner. However, it remains unclear who accesses online parenting advice and in particular, whether the parents who would most benefit are represented amongst users. It is also unknown whether the uptake of online programs can be improved by health professional recommendations, or whether parents require additional prompts and reminders to use the program. In this study we aim to: (1) determine whether weekly email prompts increase engagement with and use of a brief online program about infant sleeping and crying, (2) determine whether encouragement from a maternal and child health nurse promotes greater engagement with and use of the program, (3) examine who uses a brief online program about infant sleeping and crying; and, (4) examine the psychosocial characteristics of participants.
Methods/Design
This study is a randomised, parallel group, superiority trial, with all participating primary carers of infants aged 2 to 12 weeks, receiving access to the online program. Two modes of recruitment will be compared: recruitment via an online notice published on a non-commercial, highly credible and evidence-based website for parents and carers and via the parent’s Maternal and Child Health nurse. After baseline assessment, parents will be randomised to one of two support conditions: online program alone or online program plus weekly email prompts. Follow up data will be collected at 4 months of infant age.
Discussion
Results from this trial will indicate whether involvement from a health professional, and/or ongoing email contact is necessary to engage parents in a brief online intervention, and promote parental use of strategies suggested within the program. Results of this trial will inform the development of recruitment and engagement strategies for other online interventions.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12613001098729. Registered 01 October 2013.
doi:10.1186/s12887-015-0502-9
PMCID: PMC4640160  PMID: 26556032
Infant; Sleep; Crying; Online; Intervention; Parents
2.  Baby Business: a randomised controlled trial of a universal parenting program that aims to prevent early infant sleep and cry problems and associated parental depression 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:13.
Background
Infant crying and sleep problems (e.g. frequent night waking, difficulties settling to sleep) each affect up to 30% of infants and often co-exist. They are costly to manage and associated with adverse outcomes including postnatal depression symptoms, early weaning from breast milk, and later child behaviour problems. Preventing such problems could improve these adverse outcomes and reduce costs to families and the health care system. Anticipatory guidance-i.e. providing parents with information about normal infant sleep and cry patterns, ways to encourage self-settling in infants, and ways to develop feeding and settling routines before the onset of problems-could prevent such problems. This paper outlines the protocol for our study which aims to test an anticipatory guidance approach.
Methods/Design
750 families from four Local Government Areas in Melbourne, Australia have been randomised to receive the Baby Business program (intervention group) or usual care (control group) offered by health services. The Baby Business program provides parents with information about infant sleep and crying via a DVD and booklet (mailed soon after birth), telephone consultation (at infant age 6-8 weeks) and parent group session (at infant age 12 weeks). All English speaking parents of healthy newborn infants born at > 32 weeks gestation and referred by their maternal and child health nurse at their first post partum home visit (day 7-10 postpartum), are eligible. The primary outcome is parent report of infant night time sleep as a problem at four months of age and secondary outcomes include parent report of infant daytime sleep or crying as a problem, mean duration of infant sleep and crying/24 hours, parental depression symptoms, parent sleep quality and quantity and health service use. Data will be collected at two weeks (baseline), four months and six months of age. An economic evaluation using a cost-consequences approach will, from a societal perspective, compare costs and health outcomes between the intervention and control groups.
Discussion
To our knowledge this is the first randomised controlled trial of a program which aims to prevent both infant sleeping and crying problems and associated postnatal depression symptoms. If effective, it could offer an important public health prevention approach to these common, distressing problems.
Trial registration number
ISRCTN: ISRCTN63834603
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-13
PMCID: PMC3292472  PMID: 22309617

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