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Daily probiotics to reduce ear infections and colds in babies and young children

A little boy with ear problemDo you have a baby under 6 months old?

Would you like to take part in a research study aimed at reducing the risk of ear infections and colds in your baby and toddler?

Would you be happy to give a daily probiotic or placebo to your child for 18 months?

If yes, we have the study for you!

Ear infections are common in young children and peak when children are between 6 and 24 months of age. Over 80% of children will have had at least one ear infection by 3 years of age, and 40% will have had six or more episodes by 7 years of age. Cold are also very common in early childhood - children can have around five colds by the time they are 12 months old.

We are investigating whether giving a daily probiotic to children will protect them from getting ear infections, colds and reduce tooth decay. The study probiotic (K12) is naturally found in the mouth and has been shown to stop bacteria associated with ear infections and tooth decay, and is already widely available through pharmacies in NZ.

Taking part in the BLISOM Study involves:

  • Giving your child a daily probiotic or placebo powder for 18 months (1/4 teaspoon per day).
  • 2 visits with the researchers (40 minutes) and three phone calls (10 minutes).
  • Answering some questions about your child's health at 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and 2 years of age.
  • A dental exam when your child is 2 years old (optional)
  • Swabs of your child's saliva and/or mouth at 6 months and when they are 2 years old (optional).

For more detailed information please read our study information sheet (PDF 500KB).

If you'd like to take part in the study contact us at: or :
Wellington - text/phone +64 22 0450 188 or +64 4 918 6856
Christchurch text/phone +64 21 279 1790 or +64 3 364 3624


We will discuss the study eligibility criteria with you, but they include:

  • That you will be staying in the Wellington or Christchurch regions until your child is 2 years old.
  • That you are enrolled in a medical practice and are happy for your child's medical records to be checked when they are 2 years old.
  • That you are happy to give your child a daily probiotic or placebo.
  • That you aren't planning to give your child another probiotic regularly (more than 3 times a week)

This research is being conducted by the University of Otago Wellington and Christchurch, and is funded by the Health Research Council. The study has been approved by the Central Health and Disability Ethics Committee (Ref: 16/CEN/190).

Contact us


Tel/Mob (Wellington):
+64 22 0450 188
+64 4 918 6856

Tel/Mob (Christchurch):
+64 21 279 1790
+64 3 364 3624

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