Police are investigating the death of a two-year-old child in Mid Canterbury.

The toddler died around 11am on Saturday in the Ashburton Forks area, between Methven and Rakaia.

Mid-South Canterbury Area Commander Dave Gaskin says the investigation to determine the cause of death is in its early stages.

He says the family reported the baby had stopped breathing and died.

The death has been referred to the coroner.