Monday, May 22, 2006

Sprott Calls for Endorsement of Mattress-Wrapping

23 May 2006

MEDIA RELEASE

LATEST NEW ZEALAND COT DEATH (SIDS) STATISTICS: SPROTT CALLS FOR ENDORSEMENT OF MATTRESS-WRAPPING TO ELIMINATE WORLD'S HIGHEST INTER-ETHNIC COT DEATH DISPARITY

Following the release of new cot death (SIDS) statistics, cot death expert Dr Jim Sprott is calling on the New Zealand Ministry of Health, Royal New Zealand Plunket Society and other babycare advisers to immediately endorse mattress-wrapping for cot death prevention.

New statistics issued by the Ministry of Health show that since the commencement of mattress-wrapping eleven years ago, the New Zealand nationwide cot death rate has fallen by 70% and the NZ European (Pakeha) rate has fallen by around 85%.(1)

NZ Maori babies are 10 times more likely than NZ European (Pakeha) babies to die of cot death.(2) Following the uptake of mattress-wrapping by the Pakeha community over the last eleven years (and the 85% reduction in their cot death rate), New Zealand has the highest inter-ethnic cot death disparity of any country in the world.

"Pakeha New Zealand leads the world in cot death prevention," stated Dr Sprott. The Ministry of Health, Cot Death Association and Plunket Society have a duty to tell parents to wrap babies' mattresses. If parents don't receive information about mattress-wrapping, that risks the lives of babies - especially Maori babies."

Mattress-wrapping has been publicised in New Zealand since late 1994 and the practice has been widely adopted, especially among the European/Pakeha community. By the end of 1996 there had been 230 cot deaths in New Zealand on unwrapped mattresses (or parallel sleeping situations) versus nil cot deaths on "wrapped mattresses". By the end of 2000 the figure was 510 to nil. It is now around 820 to nil.(1)

"The major reductions in New Zealand cot death rates which have occurred since 1994 cannot be attributed to orthodox cot death prevention advice such as face-up sleeping," stated Dr Sprott. "There has been no material change to that advice since 1992."

The results of the New Zealand mattress-wrapping programme have been published in two peer-reviewed journals of environmental medicine.(3)

"Statisticians at the University of Munich have calculated that the proof that mattress-wrapping prevents cot death exceeds the level of proof achieved by DNA testing," stated Dr Sprott. "The results of the New Zealand mattress-wrapping programme far exceed the results of any other cot death prevention programme, anywhere in the world."

Notes:

(1) Source of statistics: New Zealand Ministry of Health (final statistics to 2001; provisional statistics for 2002 and 2003; progress counts for 2004 and 2005).

(2) NZ Maori cot death rate: 2.0 deaths per 1000 live births; NZ European/Pakeha cot death rate: 0.2 deaths per 1000 live births.

(3) Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine 2004;14(3):221-232. Zeitschrift fuer Umweltmedizin 2002;44:18-22.

Media release issued by:
T J Sprott OBE MSc PhD FNZIC
10 Combes Road
Remuera
Auckland 1005
Phone/fax: +64-9-5231150
E-mail: sprott@iconz.co.nz