11 Jun 2010

$1.2 million study into benefits of flax baskets for babies

9:01 am on 11 June 2010

An advocate of the use of wahakura or special flax bassinets in prevention of cot deaths, says a new study should give an objective measure of their effectiveness.

Dr David Tipene-Leach and Professor Barry Taylor from the University of Otago have been granted $1.2 million from the Health Research Council to study how the flax baskets could help babies.

Dr Tipene-Leach told Waatea News that while he has been an advocate for wahakura, his research colleagues will look at the issues with a dispassionate eye.

"They are filming babies overnight and have done work on bed sharing.

"They have done the methodology and they have the experience and an independent eye to ensure the study is robust," he said.

Dr Tipene-Leach said the percentage of Maori babies that die from sudden infant death syndrome is too high.