Aims: The National Cot Death Prevention Programme aims to reduce the prevalence of four modifiable risk factors for cot death, namely infant sleeping prone, maternal smoking, lack of breast feeding and infant sharing a bed with another person. This study evaluated the knowledge of 200 mothers of infants in South Auckland and estimated the prevalence of these infant care practices, which were compared with that found in the New Zealand Cot Death Study.
Methods: 200 mothers were interviewed.
Results: The prevalence of these modifiable risk factors in this study and that found in 1987/89 in Auckland were: prone sleep position: 2.5% compared with 36.8%, p < 0.001; infant sharing a bed with another person: 23.5% and 45.2%, p < 0.001; maternal smoking: 24.0% and 26.1%, p = ns; lack of breast feeding at 4 weeks of age: 11.0% and 13.6%, p = ns. The following percentage of mothers knew that there were risk factors for cot death: prone sleep position 95.5%, maternal smoking 89.4%, lack of breast feeding 63.1% and infant sharing a bed with another person 68.0%.
Conclusions: This study shows that infant care practices are changing and highlights the need for continuing efforts, especially relating to maternal smoking and the practice of infants sharing a bed with another person.