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Scoop Feedback - Dr T Sprott on Cot Death

You've got to laugh at Wyatt Creech's response to a recent report about the appalling state of child health in South Auckland. In his media release he trumpets the fact that cot death in the area is down by over 50 percent, with a marked decrease in the Maori cot death rate.

Well, that's got little to do with his policies. The Ministry of Health's cot death prevention advice hasn't changed since 1992. The only new item of publicised advice - with which the recent reductions in cot death coincide - is mattress-wrapping. And that's the item of advice which the Ministry stubbornly refuses to support.

From 1995 to 1998 over 350 cot deaths occurred in New Zealand. But there has been no reported cot death on a correctly wrapped mattress.

That means all cot deaths are occurring where parents (if they followed any cot death prevention advice) followed the advice publicised by the Ministry of Health. So much for Mr Creech's outmoded cot death prevention policies.

T J Sprott



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