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Sprott Warns Babycare Professionals Over Research

Sprott Warns Babycare Professionals To Ignore Cot Death Research In New Zealand Medical Journal.

Dr Jim Sprott is warning babycare professionals to ignore a research paper which is to be published shortly in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

The paper, titled "Changes to Infant Sleep Practices in Canterbury", reports a survey carried out in Canterbury in 1997 to assess whether mattress-wrapping to Dr Sprott's specifications for cot death prevention reduced the incidence of cot death. The researchers concluded that there was no evid
ence that mattress-wrapping had affected the cot death rate in Canterbury.

"This research is extremely unreliable," said Dr Sprott. "First, the researchers failed to check whether any mattress was wrapped to my specifications. They didn't even check whether parents had used the correct plastic.

"Secondly, the researchers assessed the Canterbury cot death rate using an overall rate for the years 1990 to 1997. But that's an irrelevant timeframe, because mattress-wrapping didn't get under way in New Zealand until 1995."
Official statistics show that the Canterbury cot death rate fell by 62% from 1995 to 1997.* According to Dr Sprott, this reduction cannot be attributed to orthodox cot death prevention advice - there has been no material change in that advice since 1992. Mattress-wrapping is the only new item
of cot death prevention advice publicised in New Zealand since 1994.

Dr Sprott informed the New Zealand Medical Journal in March 1999 that the Canterbury research contained serious errors. He will shortly distribute a warning notice to babycare professionals and cot death researchers in New Zealand and overseas.

"One wonders why the Medical Journal is going ahead and publishing this research," said Dr Sprott. "Once people know the facts, it won't do anything for the reputation of New Zealand cot death research - and it won't help the reputation of the New Zealand Medical Journal either."

* * * * * * *

* Canterbury cot death rates:
1995: 2.9 deaths per 1000 live births
1997: 1.1 deaths per 1000 live births
Source of statistics: NZHIS


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