Note: Following the initial decision of the SIDS Scientific Program Committee not to have an address on mattress-wrapping at the SIDS 2006 Conference, the Conference organisers asked for that decision to be re-considered. Once again, however, an address on mattress-wrapping was turned down.
In the lead-up to the SIDS 2006 Conference, internationally renowned cot death researchers in various countries expressed the view that the results of the New Zealand mattress-wrapping programme should be the subject of an address to the Conference.
Here is the Abstract of the address you didn't hear:
Cot Death - Cause and Prevention
Experiences in New Zealand 1995~2006
There is a general perception that the cause of cot death (also known as crib death or - erroneously - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) remains unknown. This is not so. The cause of cot death has been elucidated as being extremely toxic "nerve" gases generated by fungal activity on chemicals frequently present in cot mattresses and certain other bedding commonly used in babies' sleeping environments. The level of proof of this explanation renders it beyond reasonable doubt.
Interventions based on the toxic gas explanation have been widely advocated in two countries: first in Britain (1989), and far more intensively in New Zealand through an 11-year nationwide public information programme from December 1994 continuously to the present. Both interventions were followed by significant reductions in cot death which cannot be explained other than by the toxic gas proposition. Not one cot death has been reported on a mattress wrapped according to the author's specifications, whereas during that same period about 820 New Zealand babies have died of cot death, all on unwrapped mattresses so far as is known. Given the close examination of all cot deaths in New Zealand, nil reported deaths on wrapped mattresses effectively means that there have been no such deaths.
A simple inexpensive product designed for this intervention (the BabeSafe cover) has been widely used in New Zealand since August 1996, and covers have also been exported to parents in more than 30 countries since 1997. Likewise there have been no reports of cot death from any of the overseas parents who have adopted the mattress-wrapping protocol using BabeSafe covers.
Mattress-wrapping is a logical intervention based on the toxic gas explanation, and is an obvious corollary to that explanation. Since this intervention method is successful in preventing cot death, that outcome provides incontrovertible proof of the validity of the explanation. The success of mattress-wrapping for the prevention of cot death is such that it is incumbent on all persons and organisations who provide advice to parents about cot death prevention to inform parents of the New Zealand experience using this technique.
Refer: Cot Death - Cause and Prevention: Experiences in New Zealand 1995-2004, Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine 2004; 14(3):221-232.