Southern New Zealand has one of the highest reported rates of the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the world. Data were collected on 49 infants who died from SIDS in the Dunedin and Invercargill Health Districts of southern New Zealand. Forty-two of the families were interviewed at home following the loss of their infant. In the week prior to death, 17 infants (40%) had an upper respiratory tract infection, although in 11 of these infants their infection had apparently resolved at least 24 h prior to death. Thirty infants (71%) had their faces down into the bedding or their heads covered with bedding. Thirty-four infants (81%) were found dead in the prone position, whereas 49% of New Zealand infants aged 3 months would be expected to sleep prone. Sleep position and the terminal position of the head in relation to SIDS requires further study.