Proponents Barry Richardson and Dr. TJ Sprott
In 1989 Mr. Barry A. Richardson, a British consultant scientist, proposed the theory that SIDS/Crib Death was caused by toxic gases generated from elements commonly present in babies’ mattresses. Dr. TJ Sprott, a New Zealand forensic scientist, had suspected the same since the mid-1980s. Dr. Sprott felt that SIDS babies were not dying from a medical condition, but from a sleeping environment cause.
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 a plastic softener, fire retardant, a fungicide 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 P, As or Sb 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 a baby is exposed to even a small dose of these gases, the baby’s breathing and heart functions stop, resulting in SIDS/Crib Death.
Mattress-Wrapping to Prevent SIDS was first started in 1994 in New Zealand and was made secure in 1996 with the invention of the BabeSafe® matters covers.