Contrary to popular opinion, SIDS/Crib Death can be prevented.

This website gives you a way how to prevent SIDS/Crib Death.

Mattress Wrapping Summary

The Story behind Mattress Wrapping

In 1989 Mr. Barry A. Richardson, a British scientist, proposed the theory that SIDS/Crib Death was caused by toxic gases generated from elements commonly present in babies' mattresses. Dr. T. J. Sprott, a New Zealand scientist, had suspected the same since the mid-1980s. Dr. Sprott felt that SIDS babies were not dying from a medical condition, but from nerve gas being generated in the baby's sleeping environment.

As a result of their research, Mr. Richardson and Dr. Sprott found that most baby mattresses and many bedding items contain small amounts of the elements phosphorus, arsenic and/or antimony, which are incorporated for purposes such as plastic softener, fire retardant or as part of the manufacturing process. In addition, a normally harmless household fungus (Scopulariopsis brevicaulis) often grows in mattresses. Separately, the presence of the elements phosphorus, arsenic or antimony in mattresses and bedding does not pose danger. But when heat and moisture in the baby's crib results in fungal growth, the fungus interacts with these elements, causing the generation of extremely poisonous gases. If even a small dose of these gases is ingested by a baby, the baby's breathing and heart functions stop, resulting in SIDS/Crib Death.

patrick jay logoWhat is SIDS/Crib Death?

SIDS/crib death is the most common cause of infant death in many western countries. In most cases the baby has been put down to sleep in his or her crib and later found lifeless, with no sign of illness or physical struggle. SIDS/crib death can also occur in other situations which parallel "crib situations" or which are sleeping environments, for example: prams, strollers, car seats, play mats, sofas, and adults' and children's beds.

What is the SIDS/Crib Death risk age?

If a baby was born at full term, with a normal birth weight, and does not experience any significant health problems, the risk age can be regarded as over after thirteen months. If any of those situations does not apply (for example, if the baby was premature), the risk age can extend out to fifteen months.

What is the cause of SIDS/Crib Death?

SIDS/crib death is caused by highly toxic nerve gases which can be generated from mattresses and other bedding used in babies' cribs (and other sleeping environments). The gases are generated by action of common household fungi on compounds containing phosphorus, arsenic and antimony present in the mattress or bedding.

How can SIDS/Crib Death be prevented?

By preventing exposure of the baby to the gases. This is done by wrapping the baby's mattress in accordance with a specified protocol (to separate the baby from gas generation in the mattress) and using strictly specified bedding (so that the gases cannot be generated on top of the wrapped mattress). See our Bedding Instructions.

Co-Sleeping or Bed-Sharing increases the risk of SIDS:

Under the BabeSafe® mattress-wrapping protocol, co-sleeping/bedsharing between adults and babies must not occur under any circumstances - your baby must sleep in their own separate bassinet/crib on a BabeSafe®-wrapped mattress and using the specified bedding for a wrapped mattress (see the Bedding Instructions).

Please note that until such time as the baby's mattress can be wrapped in a BabeSafe® cover, having the baby sleep in your adult-sized bed is not an option. Bed-Sharing between adults and babies poses serious crib death risk (and probably accounts for around one-half of all US SIDS/crib deaths).

Your baby must never be placed in your bed, even if you are awake at the time. Just the fact that an adult is in the bed results in body heat activating the fungus to consume the chemical elements in the mattress and creating the toxic nerve gases. Adult beds often have blankets and/or pillows which would likely have the chemicals in them as well that cause toxic gases to form. An adult bed is sometimes used by other children in the family adding more risk of toxic gases being formed with their body heat.

If you wish to breastfeed the baby in your bedroom, do this sitting upright in a chair, and when feeding is over return the baby to their own separate crib to continue sleeping on the BabeSafe®-wrapped mattress.

The BabeSafe® protocol is issued for the wrapping of infant-sized mattresses and specifically for the purpose of crib death prevention - it is not issued for wrapping mattresses larger than infant-sized or for wider medical or environmental purposes. Therefore BabeSafe® covers are not manufactured in sizes for children's beds or adults' beds.

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Don't bedshare with your baby in your adult-sized bed.

Don't allow the baby to bedshare with an older child in the child's bed.

Vital Links on this Website:

Enclose the baby's mattress in a BabeSafe® mattress cover and use the bedding which is specified for a BabeSafe® cover wrapped mattress.

What is the mechanism of SIDS/Crib Death?

patrick jay logoThe baby's lungs stop breathing (apnea) and the baby's heart stops beating.

Why do the lungs and heart stop functioning?
Because the relevant nerve impulses from the brain don't reach the lungs and heart to cause them to function./span>

Why don't the nerve impulses reach the lungs and heart?
Because the nerves stop transmitting the impulses.

Why do the nerves stop transmitting the impulses?
Because of the accumulation of acetylcholine in the blood.

Why does acetylcholine accumulate in the blood?
Because the cholinesterase enzyme is deactivated.

What de-activates the cholinesterase enzyme?
Anticholinesterase agents.

What are these anticholinesterase agents?
Nerve gases formed from compounds of phosphorus, arsenic, and/or antimony.

Where are the compounds of phosphorus, arsenic and antimony?

In the baby's bedding (along with fungi which convert the compounds into the gases.)

What is successfully being used to stop the gases?
BabeSafe­® mattress covers when used according to Dr. Sprott's bedding specifications.

Crib Death Statistics / SIDS Statistics:

Results of New Zealand mattress wrapping campaign for SIDS prevention

patrick jay logo Campaign to Prevent Crib Death - to Prevent SIDS

Start date of publicity promoting mattress-wrapping: 1995

Number of babies slept on wrapped mattresses (to December 2014) At least 245,000 (1)

Reported crib deaths among those babies: None

Crib deaths on unwrapped mattresses (or parallel bedding situations) during the same period: 1030 (2)

Reduction in New Zealand crib death rate since mattress-wrapping commenced: 94% (3)

Approximate reduction in Pakeha (majority NZ European ethnicity) crib death rate: 92% (3)

These major reductions in New Zealand crib death rates cannot be attributed to the crib death prevention advice issued by the New Zealand 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 crib death rate had been static since 1993.

Publication of results of the New Zealand mattress-wrapping campaign: Two journals of environmental medicine (4,5)

Statistical proof that mattress-wrapping prevents crib death:

p < 1.9 x 10-22 (more than one billion times the level of proof which is usually regarded as establishing a medical proposition) (5)
  1. Number derived from three studies which have reported the incidence of mattress-wrapping in New Zealand: NZ Med J. 2000; 113:8-10; NZ Med J. 2000;113:326-327; Eur J Pediatr. 2008; 167(2):251-252.
  2. New Zealand Ministry of Health: official cot death statistics 1995 to 2014 (inclusive).
  3. New Zealand Ministry of Health: official cot death statistics 1994 to 2014 (inclusive).
  4. Sprott,T.J.; Cot Death -- Cause and Prevention Experiences in New Zealand 1995-2004 Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine; 2004; 14(3): 221-232

  5. Kapuste, H., et al., Giftige Gase im Kinderbett (Toxic Gases in the Infants' Bed), Zeitschrift für Umweltmedizin 2002; 44: 18-22.

This graph demonstrates that SIDS does not have any medical cause.

Proof There is No Medical Cause

Excerpted from T. J. Sprott, The Cot Death Cover-Up?, Penguin Books 1996 pp64-65:

This graph, developed originally by Peter Mitchell, is arguably the most important piece of epidemiology relating to the cause of cot death [crib death, SIDS]. The range of cot death [crib death, SIDS] risk from the lowest group (first babies of wealthy parents) to the highest group (babies of unmarried mothers) is 1:22.

This data is part of the overwhelming proof there is only one cause of cot death [crib death, SIDS] and destroys any argument that cot death [crib death, SIDS] has a medical cause.

The more babies that use a mattress the greater is the risk of SIDS.

This accounts for the higher cot death [crib death, SIDS] rates in less well-off families, who are more likely to use second-hand mattresses. If a mattress contains the dangerous elements, and the fungus has become established in the mattress during prior use, the output of toxic gas commences sooner and is greater in volume.

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Re "Offgassing" from Mattresses:

"Outgassing" (or "off-gassing" as it is called in the USA) refers to the emission of gases from a substance, for example PVC sheeting. The gases are inherently present in the substance, for example: vinyl chloride monomer in PVC; formaldehyde in urea-formaldehyde glues; methacrylic acid in acrylic paints; etc.

With regard to the Cot Life 2000 mattress-wrapping protocol (the BabeSafe® protocol): The gases which cause crib/cot death are not inherently present in mattresses. The gases are formed by fungal activity on non-volatile chemicals (containing the elements phosphorus, arsenic and/or antimony) present in most mattresses. Use of the BabeSafe® mattress cover protects the baby from any gas/es which are generated in the mattress by fungus.

The BabeSafe® cover, in addition to protecting from SIDS, also protects babies from off-gassing for parents/grandparents that have those concerns. The BabeSafe® cover (which is manufactured using an inert plastic) is itself incapable of any gas generation.

Adult-Sized Mattresses:

Under the Cot Life 2000 mattress-wrapping protocol (the BabeSafe® protocol), bedsharing (co-sleeping) between adults and babies must not occur under any circumstances, even if there is a mattress protector or wrap on the adult-sized mattress.

BabeSafe® does not manufacture covers for mattresses larger than infant-sized.  Unless the adult user has been medically diagnosed with an allergy or chemical sensitivity, there is no need to wrap adult-sized mattresses for medical or environmental purposes. Commercial western-style mattresses do not generate gases which could be of medical or environmental concern for most adults.

Some new adult-sized mattresses do emit a noticeable "chemical smell" when first unpacked. However, this is harmless and it dissipates over time. The rate of dissipation can be greatly speeded up by airing the newly unpacked mattress outside in bright sunshine for a few days (bringing it inside overnight).

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Take a look at our video on how to wrap a mattress to Prevent SIDS.

We are #CampaigningtoPreventSIDS

Barb and Sarah show how to wrap a mattress with a BabeSafe® mattress cover.

For Instructions on how to measure your mattress Click Here.

If your mattress is an unusual shape or you are unsure of which BabeSafe® mattress cover to order, please write us at the Contact Us page.

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