Curbing Crib Deaths

Curbing Crib Death

Swift Current – Thursday August 6, 2009 – by: Bev Currie


A New Zealand chemist believes he has solved the mystery of “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.” Also known as SIDS or Crib Deaths, in Canada, it is the leading cause of infant deaths.


The culprit is the crib mattress. Dr. Jim Sprott believes SIDS is caused by gaseous poisoning. The poisonous gases arise from the mattress where the baby sleeps. When the mattress is soiled, a common household fungus reacts with chemicals in the mattress to produce at least one of three deadly gasses. The danger rises as the mattresses are re-used from one baby to the next.


Prevention is remarkably simple. Dr. Sprott recommends all mattresses be fitted with a plastic cover. There has never been a crib death in New Zealand on a mattress that has been properly covered. Crib mattresses (and any other mattress that a baby sleeps on, including sheepskins) should be wrapped in thick, natural colour polythene (not PVC) sheeting. He says polythene is the type available in hardware stores. Only the top and sides of the mattress is covered, leaving the gases ( which are heavier than air) to escape harmlessly away from the baby. Commercial mattress covers are available for under $30. at and more information can be found on Dr. Sprott’s web-site

.45 / 1,000

So, why isn’t this information more readily available in Canada? Our death rate from SIDS is .45 per one thousand births, all avoidable if Dr. Sprott is right.

Not in

Both Canada and Saskatchewan health web-sites offer advice on how to reduce the risk of SIDS but neither mention mattress covers. We should be demanding this information be given to all parents with newborns.

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