Dr Jim Sprott is calling on the Ministry of Health to immediately endorse mattress-wrapping for cot death prevention,
following the cot deaths last week of twin babies in Lower Hutt.
The twin baby girls (aged two months) died of cot death on the same day, while both were sleeping on the same mattress
in a shared cot.
"These babies were poisoned by toxic gas generated in their cot mattress or bedding," said Dr Sprott. "That's why they
both died, on the same mattress, within an hour of each other, even though they were healthy babies. These terribly sad
deaths are further proof that cot death is caused by gaseous poisoning."
Following the twins' death, Dr Pat Tuohy, Chief Advisor on Child Health at the Ministry of Health, stated his opinion
that the twins could have been subjected to an adverse environmental factor at the same time.
"Dr Tuohy is quite correct," said Dr Sprott. "Cot death is caused by environmental poisoning."
Dr Sprott said that over recent years he had provided Dr Tuohy with a considerable body of research which confirms and
supports the toxic gas explanation for cot death. Dr Tuohy was present at the SIDS 2000 Conference when a scientific
expert reported proof of toxic gas generation from sheepskins used as baby bedding. "Dr Tuohy is aware of the six year
nationwide mattress-wrapping campaign, and that there has been no reported cot death on a wrapped mattress," said Dr
"So why won't Dr Tuohy advise parents to wrap mattresses so that babies are not exposed to the toxic gases which can be
generated in cots?"
Dr Sprott stated that the death of the twins was entirely preventable.
Dr Sprott will be contacting a Wellington lawyer regarding the possibility of group legal action by cot death parents
who were not informed by babycare advisers about mattress-wrapping. He said that possible defendants included the
Ministry of Health, the Plunket Society, and the National Child Health Research Foundation (the parent body of the Cot