London, Nov. 1: Babies who sleep on mattresses previously used by another child face a significantly higher risk of cot death, according to a new study.
Saliva, urine or milk soaked into the mattress produces potentially toxic bacteria which can lead to the death of a baby, particularly if the infant is already suffering from an acute viral infection, say researchers.
The finding will fuel the debate over cot death which claimed the lives of 231 babies in England and Wales last year. Campaigners say the number of deaths was at least 95 higher because of the increasing number of infant deaths registered as “unascertained”.
Researchers at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow studied 409 babies of whom 131 died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and 278 remained healthy. More than half of the 131 babies who died were placed on used mattresses. Of the 278 babies who stayed healthy, 28 per cent slept on used mattresses. The research found that the risk of death increased if the mattress was from another home.