Sids & Kids Removes Statement
7 October 2005
Sids & Kids Removes Website Statement Following Sprott's Warning Of Defamation
SIDS & Kids Australia (National SIDS Council of Australia Ltd) has removed a statement from its website following a warning by New Zealand scientist Dr Jim Sprott that the statement defamed himself and BabeSafe products.
Dr Sprott, who runs the Cot Life 2000 cot death prevention campaign, advises parents to wrap infant mattresses in specified polythene sheeting. In addition, he designed BabeSafe polythene mattress covers for cot death prevention.
In September 2005 SIDS & Kids published the claim on its website that "the Confidential Enquiry into Stillbirth and Deaths in Infancy (CESDI) study in Britain found that in fact three babies died of SIDS on polythene."
"That claim is utterly unsubstantiated," stated Dr Sprott. "As I informed SIDS & Kids, there is no scientific evidence that the deaths in question occurred on polythene. The CESDI study did not test the plastic concerned."
On 4 October 2005 SIDS & Kids notified Dr Sprott that the statement would be remaining on the organisation's website and that his demand for its removal was "not warranted".
However, the statement has now been removed from the SIDS & Kids website.
Dr Sprott welcomed SIDS & Kids' decision to remove the statement from their website. "The statement was patently incorrect," he said "and it had the potential to mislead parents."
Dr Sprott commenced publicizing mattress-wrapping in New Zealand in late 1994. Since that time the New Zealand cot death rate has fallen by 62% and the European ethnic rate has fallen by around 76%.
Mattress-wrapping is promoted internationally, including in Australia.
"There has been no reported cot death, anywhere in the world, on a mattress wrapped in accordance with my specifications for cot death prevention," said Dr Sprott. "SIDS & Kids should be using their website to tell the Australian public about the success of mattress-wrapping in preventing cot death. There is no valid reason for them not to do so."
T J Sprott OBE MSc PhD FNZIC
Consulting chemist & forensic scientist