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SIDS 2006 Conference

On Thursday at the SIDS 2006 Conference (Yokohama)

Dr Ed Mitchell (New Zealand) will give plenary presentation titled:
SIDS Epidemiology: A View from the West

During the SIDS 2006 Conference you may be notified of a statistic for the incidence of mattress-wrapping in New Zealand based on a postal survey conducted by University of Auckland researchers in 2005: "Survey of infant care practices that have been recommended for SIDS prevention".

Note the following:

1. The research sample in this survey was statistically biased and the incidence of mattress-wrapping will have been greatly under-reported.

2. This is because the survey participants were recruited from the birth list at Auckland City Hospital. Auckland City Hospital is a New Zealand Ministry of Health public hospital. The Ministry of Health policy in respect of mattress-wrapping is that there is no evidence of a link between mattresses and cot death (SIDS) risk.

3. Sourcing survey participants from the birth list at Auckland City Hospital (many of whom would have attended antenatal classes at which the Ministry of Health policy on mattress-wrapping was presented) results in highly unreliable statistics on the incidence of mattress-wrapping in the New Zealand general community.

4. To obtain reliable survey statistics on the incidence of mattress-wrapping in New Zealand, it is necessary to source research participants from records of the Registrar of Births, i.e. across the whole community - not records of a Ministry of Health hospital.

5. The results of the "Survey of infant care practices..." have not been published or publicised in New Zealand.

6. The statistical bias in the "Survey of infant care practices..." has been notified to:

* The New Zealand Ministry of Health
* New Zealand Medical Journal
* Royal New Zealand Plunket Society Inc
* Consumers' Institute of New Zealand

7. The Ministry of Health has noted the matters set out above regarding statistical bias in the survey. The New Zealand Medical Journal has obtained permission to publish a statement regarding statistical bias and other matters relating to the survey.

Sales figures for BabeSafe mattress-wrapping products show that a very large number of New Zealand babies have slept on mattresses wrapped for cot death (SIDS) prevention. Since the adoption of mattress-wrapping in 1995, the New Zealand cot death rate (which had been static for three years) has reduced by 70% and the NZ European/Pakeha rate has reduced by around 85%. These reductions in New Zealand cot death rates cannot be attributed to orthodox cot death prevention advice (e.g. face-up sleeping). There has been no material change to that advice in New Zealand since 1992.

Since mattress-wrapping commenced, around 820 cot deaths have occurred in New Zealand on unwrapped mattresses (or parallel bedding situations) versus nil cot deaths on "wrapped mattresses". The outcome of the New Zealand mattress-wrapping programme proves conclusively that there is only one cause of cot death; that mattress-wrapping prevents cot death; and that the toxic gas theory for cot death is correct.


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