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Results of the Mattress-Wrapping Campaign

4 September 2007


Results of the Mattress-Wrapping Campaign for Cot Death Prevention

Following receipt of updated cot death statistics, scientist Dr Jim Sprott has issued the statistical results of the New Zealand mattress-wrapping campaign for cot death prevention:

Start date of publicity promoting mattress-wrapping: 1995

Number of babies who have slept on wrapped mattresses: At least 165,000 (1)

Reported cot deaths among those babies: None

Cot deaths on unwrapped mattresses (or parallel bedding situations) during the same period: About 800

Reduction in New Zealand cot death rate since mattress-wrapping commenced: 68% (2)

Approximate reduction in Pakeha cot death rate: 85% (2)

These major reductions in New Zealand cot death rates cannot be attributed to the cot death prevention advice issued by the Ministry of Health. There has been no material change to that advice since 1992; and prior to the introduction of mattress-wrapping the New Zealand cot death rate had been static since 1993.

Publication of results of the New Zealand mattress-wrapping campaign: Two journals of environmental medicine (3,4)

Statistical proof that mattress-wrapping prevents cot death:
p = less than 1.9 x 10(exp -22) (i.e. more than one billion times the level of proof which is usually regarded as establishing a medical proposition) (4)

1. Number derived from two studies published in the New Zealand Medical Journal which reported the incidence of mattress-wrapping: NZ Med J 2000;113:8-10; NZ Med J 2000:113:326-327.
2. New Zealand Ministry of Health: official cot death statistics 1994 to 2005 (inclusive). “Pakeha” means non Maori non-Pacific Island. The Pakeha ethnic group comprises 79% of the New Zealand population, and around 90% of this group are of European descent.
3. Sprott, T J, Cot Death - Cause and Prevention: Experiences in New Zealand 1995-2004, Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine 2004;14(3):221-232.
4. Kapuste, H, et al, Giftige Gase im Kinderbett (Toxic Gases in Infants' Beds), Zeitschrift fuer Umweltmedizin 2002;44:18-22.


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