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NZ Expert Refused Speaking Slot

17 May 2006

New Zealand Expert Refused Speaking Slot At International Sids Conference

Cot death expert Dr Jim Sprott has been refused the opportunity to address the forthcoming SIDS International Conference regarding the results of the eleven-year New Zealand mattress-wrapping programme for cot death prevention.

The SIDS 2006 Conference, which is the ninth biennial conference of SIDS International, will take place in Yokohama from 1st to 4th June 2006.

The SIDS Scientific Program Committee for the Conference comprises New Zealand paediatrician Dr Ed Mitchell (University of Auckland), Dr Henry Krous (USA) and Dr Hajime Togari (Japan).

"The results of the New Zealand mattress-wrapping programme are crucial information for cot death researchers and advisory organisations alike," stated Dr Sprott. "Quite clearly, the outcome of this eleven-year programme should be publicised at the SIDS 2006 Conference."

Mattress-wrapping has been practised nationwide in New Zealand since late 1994. By the end of 1996 there had been 230 cot deaths on unwrapped mattresses (or parallel sleeping situations) versus nil cot deaths on "wrapped mattresses". By the end of 2000 the figure was 510 to nil. Now (in May 2006) it is around 800 to nil.*

The New Zealand nationwide cot death rate has fallen by 52% since mattress-wrapping began, and the NZ European (Pakeha) rate has fallen by around 70%.*

"These major reductions in New Zealand cot death rates cannot be attributed to orthodox cot death prevention advice such as face-up sleeping," stated Dr Sprott. "There has been no material change to that advice in New Zealand since 1992."

An estimated 145,000 New Zealand babies have slept on "wrapped mattresses", with no reported cot death among those babies. Two studies published in the New Zealand Medical Journal have reported the incidence of mattress-wrapping among New Zealand babies to be 23%.

Following the initial decision of the SIDS 2006 Scientific Program Committee not to allow Dr Sprott to address the Conference, the Conference organisers asked for that decision to be re-considered. Once again, however, Dr Sprott was refused a speaking slot.

A number of internationally renowned cot death researchers have expressed the view that Dr Sprott should be addressing the SIDS 2006 Conference. "The statistical results of mattress-wrapping far exceed the results of any other cot death prevention campaign anywhere in the world," stated Dr Sprott. "Pakeha New Zealand leads the world in cot death prevention."

New Zealand paediatrician Dr Ed Mitchell is a scheduled speaker at the SIDS 2006 Conference.

The University of Auckland has stated that Dr Mitchell will not be addressing the topic of mattress-wrapping at the Conference.


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