• Neil Kirton
Associate Minister of Health

Associate Health Minister Neil Kirton supports the review of a cot death study planned in Dunedin later this year following concerns being raised about its safety.

I applaud the move by the Health Research Council to have the study independently reviewed in light of the criticisms of Dr Jim Sprott.

The rate of cot death in New Zealand remains too high. There were 118 deaths from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in 1994, the most recent year for which figures are available.

While there have been improvements, particularly in the SIDS rate for non-Maori, more work needs to be done.

I am a strong supporter of research in this area.

The planned study in Dunedin is intended to provide information about sleep control in babies, particularly in regard to reacting to stress and waking.

Given that concerns have now been raised publicly about the study, I believe it important that these issues be re-examined to ensure that the benefits of the study do indeed far outweigh the risks.